Sebelius names winners of internal HHS contest

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Advancing her initiative to encourage innovation within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her selection of winners for Round 3 of HHS innovates Sept. 26.

HHS launched the program last year to semi-annually recognize innovation efforts throughout the agencies of the HHS. More than 85 staffers submitted innovations for the third round, according to HHS, and the best ideas were put up for a vote open to all HHS employees.

The Secretary’s Picks are:

  • National Database for Autism Research. Developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the database aims to bring together 90 percent or more of all human research data concerning autism spectrum disorder (ASD). NIH created a federal data repository and portal that connects different informatics platforms, tools, and data from the public and private sectors. The database was recognized by HHS as a platform that is extendable beyond ASD research with potential to save millions of dollars that would be spent on data acquisition.
  • Making Vital Health Information Accessible, Understandable and Actionable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed “Vital Signs,” a program that changes the way scientific information is released by the CDC. The program develops customized messages for both professional and lay audiences from CDC surveillance programs and relays them through various outlets, including Twitter and Facebook posts, banners, widgets and Q &A forums.
  • Light-Emitting Diode Cap Lamp. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the CDC and external partners developed a new mine workers cap lamp using light-emitting diodes. Test results indicate up to a 194 percent improvement in detecting floor hazards and 79 percent improvement in peripheral motion detection—thereby addressing the leading causes of injury to mine workers. The research has resulted in five major changes in international standard for cap lamps, according to the HHS.

For a list of honorable mentions and more on the program, click here.