By Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., M.S., Chief Health Informatics Officer, Food & Drug Administration
On Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 2:46pm
openFDA is an exciting new initiative in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation spearheaded by FDA’s Chief Informatics Officer. openFDA will offer easy access to FDA public data and highlight projects using these data in both the public and private sector to further regulatory or scientific missions, educate the public, and save lives.
What will it do?
On launch, openFDA will provide API and raw download access to a number of high-value structured datasets. Additionally, openFDA will provide a platform for public challenges issued by the FDA and a place for the community to interact with each other and FDA domain experts with the goal of spurring innovation around FDA data. We're currently focused on working on datasets in the following areas: Read more »
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 4:28pm
The program managers, researchers, scientists and analysts at the Department of Health and Human Services have been collecting data for decades on the nation’s health, demographics, social services, and scientific research. But what’s the value of all that data if it isn’t used?
That’s why we launched the HHS Health Data Initiative three years ago, a department-wide effort to gather up and make our vast troves of data available – in one place online -- to private sector innovators, researchers, and the public. In addition to publishing new and existing data at HealthData.gov, we’ve also focused on making the data easier to use -- while rigorously protecting privacy. This is part of the President’s government-wide Open Data initiative to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. I’m pleased to announce that the initiative recently hit a major milestone: cataloging the one-thousandth data set on HealthData.gov. Read more »
Honoring African American History by Increasing Access to Information Protecting and Promoting Your Health
By Walter Harris
On Friday, February 21, 2014 - 12:35pm
African-American History Month offers the opportunity to reflect on the contributions of African Americans in various ways, both in our local communities and on a national scale.
We should also use this month of observance to note the public health disparities that continue in underrepresented and underserved communities. Current CDC health statistics highlight poorer health outcomes for the African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
FDA’s Office of Minority Health (OMH), established in 2010 as a mandate of the Affordable Care Act, works to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and to support achieving the highest standard of health for all. A key effort to advance this mission is to promote effective communication and the dissemination of information to the public, particularly underserved, vulnerable populations. Read more »
By Christopher Powers, Fleetwood Loustalot & Matthew Ritchey
On Friday, February 14, 2014 - 10:32am
Every year, Americans suffer approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes at a cost of more than $312 billion in health care expenditure and lost productivity annually.  Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) also causes premature death, serious illness, disability, and decreased quality of life. The good news, however, is that many of the major risk factors for these conditions can be prevented and controlled. For example, high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, can help control blood pressure and health care professionals may prescribe other treatments (antihypertensive medication) if lifestyle changes are not enough. However, nearly 1 in 3 Americans, or about 67 million adults, have high blood pressure and, despite the availability of antihypertensive medications, only half have it under control ( Read more »
By Gary Puckrein
On Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 6:23pm
February is Black History Month--an opportunity to reflect not only on our social and economic history, but also on the history of poor health status for America’s minority populations and the potential of using 21st century health information technology to assure optimal care for everyone.
The disparity in health status between minorities and white Americans was not new when it was so well documented in the 1985 Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1985). In 1906, W.E.B. Du Bois edited a volume, The Health and Physique of the Negro American, that call attention to the disparities. In 1914, Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, addressed the issue by offering up some startling facts concerning excessive illnesses and death among blacks and the cost to the nation that were a result of this disease burden. A hundred years later we find ourselves still wrestling with disparities in health outcomes for blacks and other minorities. Read more »