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Knight News Challenge Awards $2.2M for Health Data Initiatives

January 15, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Seven projects that harness the power of data and information for the health of communities will receive more than $2 million as winners of the Knight News Challenge.

In August, 2013, the Knight Foundation, a Miami, Fla.-based media corporation, teamed up with four major players in health—the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and the Health Data Consortium— to launch the health innovation challenge.

The winners underscore the power of data to drive change, focusing on the topic of health— an area essential to people’s lives. They provide data-driven solutions to issues from prescription drug abuse and youth crisis counseling, to better medical resource allocation and connecting communities with local health services.

“By addressing the vital area of health, each winner highlights the transformative impact that data, when used correctly, can have on communities,” Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation, said in a statement. “In this way, the projects tackle real-world problems while opening up opportunities for people to explore new ways to apply data—within the health sphere and beyond.”

The winning projects include:

  • Camden Health Explorer from Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers: creating an interactive dashboard with real-time health care enrollment, cost and outcomes metrics to make the local health care system more efficient.
  • Crisis Text Line from providing youth with free crisis counseling via text messaging, including intervention and live referral services from trained counselors.
  • Homebrew Sensing Project from Public Laboratory: providing low-cost chemical analysis tools that allow residents to track hazardous chemicals in the environment and their health impacts.
  • Ohana API from Code for America: connecting the public with community resources through a centralized database that aggregates information on health, human and social services, so users can quickly access targeted information through search engines, smartphones or SMS.
  • Open Humans Network from developing an online portal to connect people who are willing to share their personal health information with researchers to advance medical breakthroughs.
  • Positive Deviance Journalism from Solutions Journalism Network: collaborating with newsrooms and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to scan data sets for examples of positive health results that can lead to important stories.
  • SafeUseNow from Principled Strategies: using data to identify incidents of prescription drug abuse by tracking combinations of prescribers, patients and pharmacies that may be contributing to the problem.


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