Ignite Accelerator Announces 14 Teams Selected for the Seventh Round of the Internal Innovation Training Program

Press Release | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) | August 9, 2017

The Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s HHS IDEA Lab has announced the seventh cohort of teams selected for the HHS Ignite Accelerator. The HHS Ignite Accelerator is a program that spurs innovative problem-solving across the Department by encouraging and enabling HHS staff (at all levels) to experiment with novel means for addressing key Departmental challenges.

HHS Ignite teams in past cohorts have successfully innovated in a variety of mission-critical spaces including projects to: improve patient wait times in Indian Health Service clinics; publish NIH’s vast store of biomedical 3D print files to the nation’s researchers and clinicians; and create local alert networks to prevent opioid overdoses.

Beginning with a three-day boot camp at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC the 14 newest teams represents the Department’s various Agencies and Operation Divisions. Bruce D. Greenstein, HHS Chief Technology Officer, said this of the incoming HHS Ignite cohort, “This program affords the best stewardship of U.S. taxpayer dollars by testing and validating before fully deploying otherwise costly, unnecessary solutions.”

Will Yang, Co-Director of HHS Ignite, notes, “It is immensely gratifying to work with colleagues who have the burning desire to make changes in how their groups achieve important objectives; it’s better yet to see their early concepts validated by the themes identified during the Department’s broad strategy sessions.”

During the program, the teams will leap forward through entrepreneurial methods and build innovative solutions. NIH team lead of ACTIV Collaborative Business Development project, Tim Hsiao states, "We're excited to join HHS Ignite and test our idea and validate demand before we deploy it." Hsiao and team will build a solution that bridges corporate partnerships with NIH awardees that exist outside of the major biotech hubs yielding even more translational science.

Beyond identifying notional solutions, participants will learn how to validate and communicate the value of a new concept while deciding whether to secure additional resources to further test or implement.

Kevin McTigue, Co-Director of HHS Ignite, states, “The next cohort of Ignite teams are innovative teams hoping to address a number of critical challenges, many of which were defined during the focal ‘Reimagine HHS’ workshops.”

Leading one of the newest HHS Ignite teams, the Smokefree.gov Personal Assistant project, HHS public affairs’ digital engagement specialist, Coqui Aspiazu said, “We're so excited to participate in Ignite and want to use this opportunity to test and explore artificial intelligence.” Aspiazu and team aim to use artificial intelligence (AI) to positively influence smoking cessation.

Using the HHS Ignite program to test a technology that has far-reaching implications, Aspiazu’s team has leveraged the HHS Ignite platform to combine efforts with her new teammates at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) -- she continues, “Teaming up with NCI Smokefree.gov has already been rewarding. They have a successful track record of implementing evidence-based tools and we at [Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs’] ASPA Digital look forward to leveraging this experience to help others at HHS engage with the American public on a behavior change campaign.”

For this round, the program received 80 applications from teams across HHS, which were reviewed by a group of 18 judging panelists, the majority of whom were former HHS Ignite participants. Out of the 80 applicants, 30 teams were invited to interview, and the final 14 teams were selected by the program administrators, the Executive Director of Innovation, Sanjay Koyani, and Chief Technology Officer, Bruce D. Greenstein.

The invitees for the upcoming seventh round of HHS Ignite Accelerator are as follows:

To learn more about how the teams were selected and to learn more about the projects, visit www.hhs.gov/idealab

  1. Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!
    Team Lead: Tiffany Pryce, Administration for Children and Families
  2. Streamlining Poverty Programs
    Team Lead: Erica Fleischer, Administration for Children and Families
  3. A Novel Rapid Reporting & Response Tool to Prevent Opioid Overdose
    Team Lead: Aleta Christensen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Building Advanced Molecular Capacity in Global Laboratories
    Team Lead: Rachel Marine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  5. Preparing the U.S. Workforce for an Airborne Pandemic
    Team Lead: Lew Radonovich, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  6. From Benchtop to Kitchen Tabletop, Helping Medicare Beneficiaries Access Laboratory Diagnostics
    Team Lead: Katherine B. Szarama, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  7. An Integrated Health Solutions Tool: Exploring the Intersection of Hospital Readmissions and Social Determinants of Health among People with Sickle Cell Disease
    Team Lead: Shondelle Wilson-Frederick, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  8. Show me the Money
    Team Lead: Ken Ambrose, Health Resources and Service Administration
  9. Developing and Recruiting Physicians for IHS Careers
    Team Lead: Paul Jung, Indian Health Service
  10. Real-time Sepsis Screening and Provider Notification Using the Electronic Health Record
    Team Lead: Nathan Moyer, Indian Health Service
  11. ACTIV Collaborative Business Development
    Team Lead: Timothy Hsiao, National Institutes of Health
  12. Adaptation of Agile Methodologies to Rare Diseases Drug Development
    Team Lead: Anne Pariser, National Institutes of Health
  13. Develop your B.R.E.E.D.! (Breeding Rodents Efficiently & Effortlessly by Design)
    Team Lead: Francois Vautier, National Institutes of Health
  14. Smokefree.gov Personal Assistant
    Team Lead: Coqui Aspiazu, Office of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
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Last revised: August 9, 2017


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