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RWJF Launches Health Data Initiative

October 16, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Princeton, N.J.-based nonprofit, is launching an initiative that seeks to explore how data can be used to help people lead healthier lives.

The initiative, Data for Health, will start with an advisory committee that will travel to five cities to hear from “local leaders, residents, and professionals from a wide range of sectors” on what information is important to them and how they might use it to help people lead healthier lives. The first cities include Philadelphia; Phoenix, Des Moines, Iowa; San Francisco; and Charleston, S.C.

The advisory committee, chaired by David Ross, Sc.D., director of the Public Health Informatics Institute, and Ivor Horn, M.D., medical director of the Center for Diversity and Health Equity at Seattle Children's Hospital, will look at how data should be collected, shared, used and protected in ways that are meaningful to individuals, providers, and communities.

"The sheer volume and velocity of data at our fingertips today is unprecedented," RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., said in a statement. "As we build a Culture of Health-a nation where everyone has the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives-it will be critical to ensure communities can effectively use and manage this information in ways that help people get healthy and stay healthy. The Data for Health initiative will be a starting point for identifying what infrastructure is needed to turn this information into an effective tool for improving health nationwide."

Teaming with RWJF on this initiative will be the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), which will participate in each listening session. The advisory committee will make recommendations based on these sessions in early 2015.

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