CDC creates biosurveillance centers of excellence

By Nancy Ferris
12:00 AM
Share

Grants totaling about $11.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are going to three organizations for enhancing CDC's BioSense biosurveillance program and improving disease detection.

CDC has designated the three recipients as centers of excellence in public health informatics. They received three-year grants.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received about $3 million to implement and evaluate a model electronic health record system designed to support public health programs and epidemiological analysis, CDC announced Jan. 8.

The principal investigator for that project, Dr. Farzad Mostashari, is an assistant commissioner of that department and its top epidemiologist. Mostashari has criticized how CDC has developed BioSense, which bypasses traditional public health disease reporting processes in the interest of speedy information collection.

Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore received a $4 million grant to "investigate new technologies which will improve the timeliness and accuracy of electronic disease surveillance systems and enhance the development of a national disease surveillance network," CDC's news release said.

The principal investigator for that laboratory's project, Joseph Lombardo, worked for several years on developing the Defense Department's ESSENCE surveillance system.

The third and largest grant went to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The $4.5 million project there, headed by Dr. Matthew Samore, will "investigate new technologies which will improve the timeliness and accuracy of electronic disease surveillance systems and enhance the development of a national disease surveillance network," the release said.

"The goal of this funding will be identifying new tools and methods to enhance health information sharing and ultimately lead to the adoption of a nationwide, technology-based, integrated health care surveillance system. We hope we'll be able to detect emerging public health threats earlier and more efficiently," said Dr. Steve Solomon, director of the Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service at CDC.