CDC enlists U Indiana in epidemic information sharing, bioterror response

Published 17 March 2008

Indiana University awarded $2.6 million to bolster the ability of local, state, and federal agencies ability to share data and information on the outbreak of epidemics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded the Indiana University School of Medicine a $2.6 million initial contract with the possibility of nearly $10 million in funding over five years to accelerate the real-time ability of local, state, and regional entities to share data and information to enhance rapid response to and management of potentially catastrophic infectious disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies. The funding will allow researchers from the Regenstrief Institute to build upon their work in health information exchange and biosurveillance to develop innovative public health informatics solutions to combat outbreaks of anthrax, plague, and numerous other infectious diseases. The Indianapolis-based group is one of only three chosen by the CDC for this work.

Leading the CDC supported work, which will look at diseases potentially spread naturally or by bioterrorism, are Regenstrief research scientists J. Marc Overhage, M.D., Ph.D. and Shaun Grannis, M.D.“Our selection to participate in this important effort recognizes Indiana’s established leadership in using health information technology for public health improvement,” said Dr. Overhage, director of medical informatics at the Regenstrief Institute and president and CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange. “With this award we will be expanding upon Regenstrief’s work with the Marion County Health Department and Indiana State Department of Health and scaling it up to a national level.” Dr. Overhage is the Regenstrief Professor and professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

“This work represents an opportunity to improve the health of our community and disseminate best practices to the nation,” said Dr. Grannis, a Regenstrief Institute informatician and an assistant professor of family medicine at the IU School of Medicine. Dr. Grannis is involved in syndromic and bioterrorism surveillance. He leads a multi-year project to integrate health data from more than 110 hospitals throughout Indiana for use in disease surveillance and has worked with other states including Texas and Michigan to develop statewide data sharing initiatives.