The People’s Choice Health Awards

Mar 1, 2013, 1:36 PM

Time to vote! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the start of public voting for the People’s Choice Award in the HHSinnovates Program, which rewards outstanding projects led by HHS employees to solve critical health issues.

The public is invited to cast their votes for finalists who submitted ideas that have proven to be scalable, replicable and uniquely innovative. The finalist with the highest number of votes will win the “People’s Choice” award, which will be announced March 19 in Washington, D.C.

Vote for your favorite finalist here. The top contenders include:

  • Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s
  • The Body Weight Simulator
  • Portal System: Linking Health Care Clinics
  • Counterfeit Detector Device
  • The Weight of the Nation Campaign

Read the full post for a detailed description of each.

  • Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s — The Administration for Community Living and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) teamed up to bring together ACL’s Aging Network and the 27 NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers that conduct research. The Aging Network provides supportive services to more than 10 million older adults and family caregivers. This innovation has connected networks that do not usually intersect, and provided the opportunity for social service providers and researchers to educate and update each other through joint webinars and outreach activities. The initiative has helped inform and connect more individuals to the services provided by ACL, and contributed to a 25 percent increase in prospective research participants.
  • FDA-iRISK — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created FDA-iRISK, an interactive, web-based risk assessment tool, to provide regulatory and industry decision makers with a fast standardized way of assessing risks in the food supply and predicting the effectiveness of interventions and control measures. The online system can: simultaneously compare and rank public-health risks from multiple contaminants, in multiple foods; and calculate how contamination and illness would change with changes in food-production practices and do it faster, via pre-assembled mathematical functions and templates. The FDA collaborated with the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Risk Sciences International, and others to make FDA-iRISK widely available, for free, including to countries that export food to the United States.
  • The Body Weight Simulator — To advance the science of weight loss prediction and provide more accurate, personalized weight management programs, the National Institutes of Health developed the Body Weight Simulator, which accurately models changes in body fat and metabolism in response to diet or exercise interventions.
  • Portal System: Linking Health Care Clinics — The California Area Office of the Indian Health Services developed an innovative online portal to connect and provide one-stop access to training and technical assistance to more than 2,000 staff at 46 geographically dispersed tribal and health care programs. What differentiates this system from other available technologies is that it requires no licensing, reaches beyond federal intranets and supports customization. The designers say the portal system could be easily scaled to other government agencies and provides a cost-efficient and effective way to support customers who are outside the federal security boundary.
  • Counterfeit Detector Device — To protect against counterfeit, unapproved and potentially dangerous medicines entering the United States through fraudulent sources, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Forensic Chemistry Center created the Counterfeit Detection Device, a portable hand-held device that can spot suspected counterfeit drug products or packaging. The device uses fixed wavelengths of light, from ultraviolet to infrared, to rapidly screen and detect counterfeit products and packaging in real-time. The device is currently being used in an FDA laboratory, international mail facilities, and import centers.
  • The Weight of the Nation Campaign — The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the Home Box Office network (HBO), the Institute of Medicine, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente collaborated on a multimedia project to mobilize personal and community action to help curb and prevent obesity.

>> Bonus Links:

  • Watch a slideshow featuring the HHS Innovates finalists.
  • Find other federal health challenges; many are open to non-federal employees.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.