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Major grant supports digital health innovation nationwide

October 6, 2017

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is sharing a $25 million grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support the use of health data to move basic science discoveries into clinical care.

The collaboration, led by Oregon Health & Science University, also includes Northwestern University, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sage Bionetworks, Scripps Research Institute, the University of Iowa and the Jackson Laboratory. The new funding creates a National Center for Data to Health and brings together leaders in informatics among the more than 50 medical research centers in the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program.

Washington University’s role, which is supported by a $2 million award, is led by Philip Payne, PhD, the Robert J. Terry Professor, and includes a collaboration between the university’s Institute for Informatics, the Health Systems Innovation Lab and the Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS).

“By creating a data commons that supports open science and innovation at a national level, our Institute for Informatics can help to re-engineer the way in which high-impact and data-intensive research is conducted throughout the CTSA consortium,” said Payne, founding director of the School of Medicine’s Institute for Informatics. “Ultimately, this platform will support a transition away from traditional, and largely siloed research paradigms, toward a model in which data and tool sharing yields research findings that are reproducible, rigorous and timely.”

Biomedical informatics scientists at the School of Medicine will design a novel platform to support the discovery of data and analytical tools across the NIH-supported hubs of clinical and translational research, helping to increase the efficiency of collaborative research programs nationwide and encourage the sharing and re-use of such resources.

“Washington University is part of a select group of institutions that will create new tools and methods to share data and techniques across institutions to more rapidly advance scientific discovery and the translation of discovery into prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Bradley A. Evanoff, MD, director of the ICTS.

Washington University School of Medicine‘s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked seventh in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.