From 2010 to 2015, the HHS Innovates Awards have recognized 48 projects from 8 Rounds.
Round 1: Awarded August 2010
Education Through Wireless SMS
As a tool developed to help new parents, Text4Baby leverages wireless technology to educate new mothers about their health and the health of their babies.
Juliette Kendrick, CDC | Yvonne Green, CDC | Sabrina Matoff-Stepp, HRSA | Judy Meehan, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coaltion | Paul Meyer, Voxivia, Inc. | Valerie Scardino, HHS | Paul Stange, CDC
Piloting Green Laboratories
Two microbiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were concerned about the landfill waste being generated from the plastic containers used in lab experiments. To make their labs green, they developed a procedure that autoclaves and sterilizes the plastic making it safe to recycle, resulting in 13,772 pounds of recycled plastic.
To advance and accelerate progress in addressing the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) formed the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
Laura Kettel Kahan, CDC | Rachel Ballard-Barbash, NIH | Tracy Orleans, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation | Molly Kretsch, USDA | Terry T-K Huang, University of Nebraska | Todd Phillips, Academy for Educational Development
Making the Link Between Public Health & Aging
The rapid aging of the U.S. population is unprecedented but few public health professionals possess the skills to address the health needs of older Americans. To address this need, the Centers for Disease Control developed, “Improving Older Adult Health – Opportunities & Resources for CDC Professionals,” training.
Forming Partnerships to Develop Lifesaving Technologies
Black lung disease contributes to the deaths of over 700 U.S. coal miners annually. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) developed improved dust monitoring technology to advance the protection of miners from respirable dust that causes black lung.
Jon Volkwein, CDC | Bruce Watzman, National Mining Association | Jeffery Kohler, CDC | Mike Nemergut, Thermo Scientific | Joe Main, U.S. Department of Labor | Dennis O’Dell, United Mine Workers | Joe Lamonica, Bituminous Coal Operators Association
Revolutionizing Procurement Through the Web
The government procurement process can at times be burdensome and littered with inefficiencies. To take this problem head on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke developed the Purchasing Online Tracking System that streamlines the National Institutes of Health procurement process.
Yang Fann, NIH | Trissy Knox, NIH | Gladys Wang, NIH | Quynh Ly, NIH | Robert Dean, NIH
Round 2: Awarded March 2011
Electronic Health Records in Action
In response to the 2009 influenza pandemic, the Indian Health Service leveraged its existing electronic health record to rapidly develop, validate, and implement a national electronic surveillance system to provide timely information on influenza-like illness, influenza vaccination rates, and potential adverse events following vaccination.
John Redd, IHS | Jim Check, IHS | Terry Cullen, IHS | Larry Layne, IHS | Amy Groom, CDC | Jim Hayslett, IHS | James Keck, CDC
While health professionals are working to improve the quality of care at the clinical level using data, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), created MedlinePlus Connect, a new tool that links electronic health record systems to relevant health and wellness information from MedlinePlus.gov.
Joyce Backus, NIH | Stephanie Dennis, NIH | Naomi Miller, NIH | Joseph Potvin, NIH | Serena Burgess, NIH | Maxine Rockoff, Columbia University
As part of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, the Food and Drug Administration created FDA-TRACK, the first federal agency-wide performance management program. FDA-TRACK analyzes and reports monthly performance on 114 offices and 8 key initiatives.
Timothy Kiang, FDA | Kelly McReynolds, FDA | Giles Mills, FDA | Tiffany Yu, FDA | Tiffany Clark, FDA | Ann Vale, FDA | Kari Schraf, FDA
MONAHRQ – My Own Network, powered by AHRQ
Organizations have information & data that is of interest to people at the local level but developing a way to report it can be expensive and time consuming. MONAHRQ, developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality changes this. It is a free software product that helps organizations generate their own healthcare reporting website quickly and easily.
Carol Sneigoski, AHRQ | Anne Elixhauser, AHRQ | Teressa Fraze, Thomson Reuters Health Care
From Outer Space to the Eye Clinic
Collaboration between NASA and the National Eye Institute led to the development of a clinical device for much earlier detection of cataracts that measure changes in alpha crystalline proteins in the lens of the eye which was adapted from a device created for use in outer space.
Manuel Datiles, NIH | Rafat Ansari, NASA | J. Samuel Zigler, John Hopkins University | Frederic Ferris, NIH
Ready, Cert, Go!
The hiring process in federal government can at times be cumbersome and difficult. To streamline the process, the Office of Human Resources recently implemented Ready, Cert, Go!, a proactive Departmental Enterprise Hiring Strategy to more efficiently and effectively provide hiring managers with talented candidates.
Denise Wells, ASA | Antonia Harris, ASA | Kent Slakey, ASA | Linda Bishop-Milton, ASA | TJ Powers, ASA | Donna Sanders, ASA | Marcia Gosha-Caldell, ASA
Round 3: Awarded September 2011
Lighting the Way: NIOSH Cap Lamp
Underground mines are often dangerous confined environments with poor visibility. While recent cap lamps have been slightly updated, the functionality of these lamps has been unchanged since the 1914. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health designed a LED cap lamp that improves worker safety by better distributing light using specialized, programmable optics.
John Sammarco, CDC | Miguel Reyes, CDC | Timothy Matty, CDC | Sean Gallagher, CDC | Timothy Lutz, CDC | Grant King, CDC
Bringing Clarity to Health Information: CDC Vital Signs
Americans want trustworthy health information they can use, but are often bombarded with largely unusable or incorrect information. To help remedy this, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs was developed to translate the latest scientific and surveillance data into recommended actions using plain language that is easy to understand.
Richard Schieber, CDC | Lynn Sokler, CDC | Ronald Campbell, CDC | Carol Crawford, CDC | Tom Skinner, CDC | Karen Resha, CDC | Barbara Bowman, CDC
The National Database for Autism Research
Accelerating the pace of scientific discovery requires bringing together data from multiple disciplines, broadening engagement and increasing transparency. To help accelerate the progress in autism spectrum discords research the National Institutes of Health developed the National Database for Autism Research.
Michelle Freund, NIH | Daniel Hall, NIH | Greg Farber, NIH | Matthew McAuliffe, NIH
Supporting Tribal Grantees: ACF Makes it Simple
Navigating grant requirements can be challenging, particularly when forms are complex and staff turnover is high. The Tribal Child Welfare Team within the Administration for Children and Families Region VI Children’s Bureau has made it easy by creating a solution for improved accessibility to title IV-B grant funds.
Nanette Bishop, ACF | Dana Huckabee, ACF
Improving Health & Stability in Food Choices
Healthy eating is one of the essential ways to maintain good health. To support healthy eating in the workplace, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the Health & Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations as an innovative means of supporting sustainability and employee wellness in federal facilities.
Finding the latest health recommendations that are both science-based and easy to understand can often be difficult. The recently developed National Library of Medicine Video Search is a new tool that lets you quickly search for words and phrases in Section 508-compliant historical medical and public health films created by the U.S. government.
John Doyle, NIH | Simon Liu, USDA | Edward Luczak, NIH | Wei Ma, NIH | Jennifer Marill, NIH | John Rees, NIH | Doron Shalvi, NIH
Round 4: Awarded March 2012
Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse
Getting people motivated to be prepared for emergencies can be difficult, but a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stepped outside the box with their zombie preparedness blog resulting in some unprecedented results!
David Daigle, CDC | Margaret Silver, CDC | Ali Khan, CDC |Catherine Jamal, CDC
Connecting Kids with Dental Care
Finding dental care for children is important but was difficult at times until the Health Resources & Services Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the States’ Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) created a web-based locator tool to match kids enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP with oral health providers who will treat them.
Terri Lynn Cohen, HRSA | Nancy Goetschius, CMMS | James Resnick, HRSA | Sanjoy Chakraborty, HRSA | Keith Adams, SAIC | Barbara Gandy, SAIC
Leveraging the Public to Catch Fugitives
The Office of Inspector General is pursuing 170-plus fugitives who have defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars. Focusing attention on these health care criminals via the Most Wanted Health Care Fugitives Website effectively harnesses a previously untapped resource: the public.
Public-private partnerships can make significant impact on the state of the nation’s health. Learn how the public and private sectors are using innovative approaches to collaboration, information dissemination, and project management to prevent heart disease and stroke, two of the nation’s leading causes of death.
Michael Schooley, CDC | Peter Briss, CDC | James Galloway, HHS | Judy Hannan, CDC | Joseph McCannon, CDC | Farzad Mostashari, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT | Janet Wright, CDC
Bridging the CHASM of Health Disparities
The United States Public Health Service’s (USPHS) Community Health and Service Missions (CHASM) bridges the chasm of health disparities by providing essential human services for those who are least able to help themselves. CHASM improves emergency response capacity by fostering collaborations among local, state, tribal, and nongovernmental organizations.
Kimberly Elenberg, HHS | Carol Lincoln, IHS | MaryAnn Veitch, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response | Calvin Edwards, FDA | Alan Parham, CDC | Christopher McGee, U.S. Bureau of Prisons | David Morrissette, SAMHSA
Electronic Patient Tracking in Disasters
Having the most up-to-date information during disasters is essential in providing the best care. Through its novel use of technology, the Bethesda Hospitals’ Emergency Preparedness Partnership Patient Tracking and Locating System empowers hospital emergency management staff with real-time information, assuring key decision makers have the information necessary to make timely decisions.
Ivor D’Souza, NIH | Wei Ma, NIH | Cindy Notobartolo, John Hopkins School of Medicine | Laura Lee, NIH | Chandra Kola, NIH | David Zhang, NIH | Dwight Clarke, NIH
Round 5: Awarded September 2012
The Coal Dust Explosibility Meter
Coal dust in mines has a high risk of exploding if not properly controlled and has resulted in 64 fatalities and 18 injuries since the year 2000. The current method of testing the risk of explosibility of a mine can take weeks. To address this the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health designed a new meter that instantly determines risk of explosibility.
Marcia Harris, CDC | Cindy Hollerich, CDC | Mike Sapko, CDC | Eric Weiss, CDC | Floyd Varley, Yukon Zinc
The 100k Genome Project
One in six Americans is sickened by foodborne illness each year. To help find the source of an outbreak to prevent further contamination and illness, the 100K Genome Project, developed through an innovative partnership among government, business and academia, is sequencing the genetic codes (genomes) of 100,000 strains of important food pathogens and making them available in a free and public database.
Marc Allard, FDA | Eric Brown, FDA | David Lipman, NIH | Steven Musser, FDA | Steve Royce, Agilent Technologies | Bart Weimer, University of California Davis | Paul Zavitsanos, Agilent Technologies
The National Health Service Corps Job Center
Underserved communities need primary care providers – doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health providers. The National Health Service Corps Jobs Center connects clinicians to health care sites that need them most; increasing access to high quality health care for millions of Americans.
Rebecca Spitzgo, HRSA | John White, HRSA | Prasad Bhalerao, Sapien | Shereef Henien, Sapien | Mark Laurent, Sapien
NIH RePORT: Public Access to Research
Looking for health-related research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)? Use the newly developed NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT), a one-stop shop for information on NIH research portfolio, serving as an effective tool to communicate with the research community, legislators, institutional officials, health advocates, and the general public.
How do you train over 3,500 people each year in food sanitation when contending with a twenty percent reduction in staff? The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service, Division of Environmental Health Services’ solution to this problem is an online training designed to be efficient and culturally-relevant, involving multiple Federal and Tribal partners.
Robert Bates, IHS | Tom Candelaria, IHS | Jeff Dickson, IHS | Debra Grabowski, IHS | Katie Hubbard, IHS
The NIH 3D Print Exchange
An online portal to open-source data and tools for discovering, creating, and sharing 3D-printable models related to biomedical science. Our goal is to empower researchers, physicians, and the public with high-quality, informative models that inspire new discoveries that transform science and health care.
Tens of thousands of volunteers are needed—right now—for research to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Through the Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s Initiative, researchers teamed up with a network of community organizations that work with older people and caregivers every day. Together, they found fast, cost-effective ways to identify volunteers, speed up the science, and provide valuable information about services.
Amy Wiatr-Rodriguez, ACL | Jennifer Watson, NIH | Nina Silverberg, NIH | Kate Gordon, RTI International
The Weight of the Nation Campaign
Obesity is one of the nation’s greatest public health problems, affecting about a third of U.S. adults and nearly 17 percent of children and teens. A unique public-private collaboration led to the creation of a far-reaching multimedia initiative to mobilize personal and community action to curb and prevent obesity.
Susan Yanovski, NIH | Catherine Loria, NIH | Susan Dambrauskas, NIH | Jennifer Seymour, CDC | William Dietz, CDC | John Hoffman, HBO Documentary Films | Judith Salerno, IOM
FDA’s Anti-Counterfeit Device
Traditional methods of detecting counterfeit products are effective but require expensive, sophisticated and frequently bulky instrumentation. To make this process more efficient, the Food and Drug Administration developed the Counterfeit Detection Device (CDx) and methodology to screen for counterfeit pharmaceutical dosage forms and packaging in a real-time non-destructive manner.
Nicola Tanieri, FDA | Diane Lirhus, FDA | Elizabeth MacCorkell, FDA | Marcus Fairconnetue, FDA | Mark Witkowski, FDA | Elsie Figueroa, FDA | Fred Fricke, FDA
FDA-iRISK: A Fast Tool for Food Safety
Which foods and contaminants are public-health priorities? Collaborating with many partners, the Food and Drug Administration developed FDA-iRISK to address that question. The online system simultaneously ranks public-health risks from multiple contaminants, in multiple foods and calculates how contamination and illness from each would change with changes in food-production practices.
Sherri Dennis, FDA | Yuhuan Chen, FDA | Susan Cahill, FDA | Anne-Marie St-Laurent, Canadian Food Inspection Agency | Kyle McKillop, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition | Greg Paoli, Risk Science International | Stephen Beaulieu, RTI International
The Body Weight Simulator
With so many weight-loss tools, diets, and exercise programs, why are 2/3 of American adults overweight or obese? The Body Weight Simulator, an innovative online tool for personalized weight management, is a new and effective way that doctors, researchers, and policymakers can address this public health issue using the latest available science.
Kevin Hall, NIH | Carson Chow, NIH | Dhruva Chandramohan, Cornell University
Portal System: Linking Healthcare Clinics
The Indian Health Service/California Area Office needed a better way of providing training and technical assistance to the 46 tribal and urban Indian health care programs in California, so they developed the IHS/CAO Portal System, a cost-effective, novel and easily accessible tool that enables health care staff at remote locations to access discipline specific online communities.
Robert Gemmell, IHS | Kelly Stephenson, IHS | Steve Riggio, IHS | Beverly Miller, IHS
Round 7: Awarded July 2014
Suicide Prevention: What’s Your Role?
Imagine combining the reach of the Web and the power of community engagement to reduce suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in the nation. Using “echo sites”, which are defined as community-organized gatherings, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partnered with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Administration for Community Living (ACL), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Women’s Health (OWH) and with local communities to hold interactive dialogues that transform participants into change agents capable of spreading the message that everyone plays a role in preventing suicide.
Jeffrey Coady, SAMHSA | Michelle Hoersch, Office on Women’s Health | David Bingaman, HRSA | Jonathan Sanchez-Leos, CMS | Eileen Zeller, SAMHSA | Kathleen Votava, ACL | Kathie Gray, ACF | Catherine Leonis, CMS | Jim Varpness, ACL | Erica Fleisher, ACF | Stephanie Gove-Yin, Office on Women’s Health | Elizabeth Otter, Office on Women’s Health
Whole Genome Sequencing: Future of Food Safety
The very food we eat can be deadly. Identifying the bugs that makes us sick is slow and cumbersome, even in the event of an outbreak. Whole genome sequencing is a new technology that can replace current methods, speeding up detection and intervention to stop an outbreak of disease in its tracks.
Peter Gerner-Smidt, CDC | Cristopher Braden, CDC | Cheryl L. Tarr, CDC | Peter Evans, FDA | William Klimke, NIH | Kristin Holt, USDA | Kristy Kubota, Association for Public Health Laboratories
Breast Cancer Startup Challenge
The first-of-its-kind, an international, university student-based startup competition, the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge was launched by the National Cancer Institute in partnership with the Avon Foundation and the Center for Advancing Innovation. The primary goals of this challenge were to accelerate the process of bringing emerging breast cancer technologies to market and stimulate the creation of start-up businesses around the inventions.
Eleven new startups are launched and expect to receive technology licenses in the winter of 2014. Following the success of the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge, the Neuro Startup Challenge was launched in August 2014 with the hope of quickly producing startups and licensing brain related inventions. The Neuro Startup Challenge is centered around 16 inventions from multiple NIH Institutes.
Karen Maurey, NIH | Thomas Stackhouse, NIH | Rosemarie Truman, Center for Advancing Innovation | Marc Hulbert, Avon Foundation for Women | Rose Freel, NIH | Richard Rodriguez, NIH | Jennifer Wong, NIH | Eric Hale, NIH | John Hewes, NIH | Joanna Bergmann, NIH | Michele Newton, NIH | Li Gwatkin, NIH | Jonathan Lui, Center for Advancing Innovation | Youhong Wang, Center for Advancing Innovation | Carolyn Ricci, Avon Foundation for Women
Ladder Safety: NIOSH has an App for That
Setting up ladders at a proper angle and following safety guidelines is an effective way to reduce the risk of ladder fall injuries – a persistent hazard in the workplace and at home. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Ladder Safety app uses the latest safety research and smart phone technology to deliver free, innovative and easy-to-use ladder positioning tools, checklists, and guides into the hands of ladder users where and whenever they are needed. This app is one of the most highly downloaded apps for both Apple and Android mobile devices.
Peter Simeonov, CDC | Hongwei Hsiao, CDC | John Powers, CDC
Using Motion Comics to Educate Young People About HIV and STD’s
Over half of all sexually transmitted infections occur among young people 15 – 24 years of age. To educate young adults about the risks of HIV and sexually-transmitted diseases and how to prevent these, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pilot-tested the use of very popular form of mainstream entertainment – the motion comic – to reach this population through animation. Audience testing showed significant increases in knowledge and other benefits. This innovation represents a novel effort by a public health agency to use motion comics to engage and educate young people about the risks of HIV and STDs through entertainment and animation.
Leigh Willis, CDC | Rachel Kachur, CDC | Ted Castellanos, CDC | Pilgrim Spikes, CDC | Zaneta Gaul, ICF International | Ashley Gamayo, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health | Marcus Durham, CDC
Madeline Sutton, CDC | Hadiza Buge, CDC | Sandra Jones, CDC | Mark Stancil, Terminus Media | Tony Cade, Terminus Media | Joe Phillips, Terminus Media | John McGuire, Terminus Media | Lamont Wayne, Terminus Media | Robert Jeffrey, Terminus Media | Peter Mitchell, Terminus Media | William Rich, Terminus Media
Round 8: Awarded June 2015
Peri-Operative Surgical Home (POSH)
The Peri-Operative Surgical Home (POSH) at the Indian Health Service’s Phoenix Indian Medical Center is improving the care of complex surgical patients by creating the processes, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and staff education necessary to safely deliver the highest standard of care to the most challenging patients in a cost effective way. POSH puts the patient first!
The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality is a platform for states to engage in collaborative learning together as ‘cyberteams,’ apply quality improvement methods, and spread policy and program innovation – which in turn accelerates improvement in strategies that are influencing birth outcomes.
Wanda Barfield, CDC | Stephen Cha, CMS | David de la Cruz, HRSA | Reem Ghandour, HRSA | Ashley Hirai, HRSA | Vanessa Lee, HRSA | Michael Lu, HRSA
Transforming Health Provider Loan Repayment Programs
The impact of the collaborative re-engineering of the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration has reduced the processing time of 3,200 loan repayment awards by 6 months, saved more than $3 million in taxpayer dollars, improved customer satisfaction, and boosted employee productivity since 2013.
The National Institutes of Health’s 3D Print Exchange is an online portal to open-source data and tools for discovering, creating, and sharing 3D-printable models related to biomedical science. Our goal is to empower researchers, physicians, and the public with high-quality, informative models that inspire new discoveries that transform science and health care.
Darrell Hurt, NIH | Nick Weber, NIH | Meghan Coakley, NIH | Terry Yoo, NIH | Dave Chen, NIH | Vsevelod Alekseyev, NIH | Makazi Mtingwa, NIH
Linking Health Care & Community Services
The Administration for Community Living (ACL)’s learning collaborative makes it possible to break down barriers between medical and community services to achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier people. The learning collaborative is making community organizations better business partners and linking health care and community services to better meet the needs of the people HHS serves.
Marisa Scala-Foley, ACL | Lauren Solkowski, ACL | Tim McNeill (consultant) | The John A. Hartford Foundation | Partners in Care Foundation | National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Stretching NIH Research Dollars Further
Providing free access to data and pay-per-use access to unlimited computing power, the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC) at the National Institutes of Health enables worldwide scientific collaborations to flourish with minimal startup and long-term overhead costs. This innovative clearinghouse facilitates discovery neuroscience for researchers lacking the means for data collection and complex image analysis or wishing to replicate research to validate hypotheses.
Vinay Pai, NIH | James Luo, NIH | Nina Preuss, TCG | Robert Buccigrossi, TCG | David Kennedy, University of Massachusetts | Christian Haselgrove, Neuromorphometrics | Jon Riehl, Resilient Science
Project Fish SCALE
Through the development, transfer, and implementation of innovative state-of-the-art forensic techniques, Project Fish SCALE (Seafood Compliance and Labeling Enforcement) addresses the Food and Drug Administration’s critical need to rapidly and accurately identify seafood products during illness outbreak investigations and to enforce proper labeling of seafood to prevent mislabeling and fraud.
Jonathan Deeds, FDA | Peter Koufopoulos, FDA | Paige Shelborne, FDA | Sara Handy, FDA | Fred Fry Jr., FDA | Anne Eischeid, FDA | Sarah Stadig, FDA