Johns Hopkins, Northwestern lead $25M initiative to create a health informatics collaborative

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A new NIH-funded initiative aims to collaborate health innovation across the country.

A group of nine organizations including the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has received $25 million from the federal government to build a health data-sharing network for health informatics researchers.

Led by representatives at John Hopkins, Northwestern University, Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Washington and Sage Bionetworks, the new initiative is tasked with building the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H).

Other participants include the Scripps Research Institute, the University of Iowa, Washington University in St. Louis and the Jackson Laboratory.

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With funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, the consortium of provider organizations plans to coordinate informatics activities across a network of 50 medical research institutions that make up the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program. The nine organizations involved in the new initiative will focus on standardizing data practices, promoting software standards for interoperability, facilitating innovation using informatics tools and developing ways improve healthcare through data and informatics, according to a release.

“The goal is to unlock the amazing wealth of technologies and innovation located within each individual CTSA and to create cohesive communities of practice founded on the fundamental premise that team science, data sharing and collaborative innovation can advance patient care,” said Melissa Haendel, interim co-director of the Oregon Health & Sciences University Library and co-leader of the CD2H initiative.

Researchers are learning to navigate a new era of data sharing that is fueling a slew of precision health initiatives including the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us campaign. NIH Director Francis Collins has praised provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act that eliminates barriers to data-sharing by improving data privacy protections.

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