Thursday, December 10, 2009

HHS Highlights Innovative New Open Government Initiatives

Part of Open Government Commitments in Service of National Priorities Programs Are Result of Accessible Federal Decision Making Process

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today three innovative HHS ideas that have been developed as a result of a more open and accessible federal decision making process in collaboration between the public, private sector and the federal government.

Information Streaming, IdeaLab, and YouTube Know What to Do About the Flu and Prevention PSA Contest implement the President’s three principles for promoting a transparent and open government: transparency, participation, and collaboration.

HHS initiatives help to facilitate ways for the public and private sector to find the information they need and receive real-time updates, which can fuel entrepreneurial momentum, create new jobs, and strengthen economic growth.

“These examples illustrate our commitment to the President’s vision of promoting accountability, collaboration and public engagement,” Secretary Sebelius said. “By working together in a transparent manner, we have developed programs that are making real contributions to creating and adopting impactful solutions that protect and improve people’s health.”

  • Information Streaming of HHS biomedical research innovation, part of the National Assets for High-Tech Economic Growth commitment, uses new Web technology to provide real time access to information on technologies available for licensing from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intramural laboratories and NIH Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) opportunities. Access to this and similar information from other federal laboratories on will enhance user driven innovation.

This project is part of a collaborative effort among the NIH and FDA in the Department of Health and Human Services; the Agricultural Research Service in the Department of Agriculture; the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce; the Department of Energy; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which are working together to increase access to information on publicly-funded technologies that are available for license; opportunities for federal funding and partnerships; and potential private-sector partners.

  • IdeaLab, an innovative Web-based peer-to-peer program that serves as a clearinghouse for collaborative networking for employees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). IdeaLab is open and transparent. Anyone working at CDC can post an idea or request help with a project, and then other CDC employees can post their comments, solutions, and similar experiences. IdeaLab does not, however, allow anonymous postings or comments as doing so would be contrary to the intent of creating the site -- which is to promote transparency, participation, and collaboration.
  • YouTube Know What to Do About the Flu and Prevention PSA Contest, reached populations most vulnerable to the H1N1 flu virus, young teens and adults, to take proactive actions such as washing your hands and getting a flu shot. The PSA contest provided a venue to encourage families and students to get involved and reached a large audience with a creative outlet and humor, on a serious subject. More than 250 videos were submitted for review. Subject matter experts selected 10 finalists. The public then voted to select the overall winner. The winning PSA was featured on national television. Other runner-up PSAs are also being seen on a number of national media outlets and can be viewed on

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said, “By using the latest information technologies available, the NIH Intramural Research Program provides instantaneous access to information about opportunities to license NIH inventions or to partner with NIH scientists. This is an important step in accelerating the translation of discoveries into effective therapeutics."

“IdeaLab helps CDC better leverage its brainpower to generate and incubate ideas, solve problems, encourage collaboration, and promote broad adoption of the best solutions by tapping into the knowledge, skills, and creativity of our staff regardless of where someone actually works, ” said Joanne Andreadis, Ph.D., CDC Office of Strategy and Innovation Team Leader. “We have all of these individuals at CDC with a wealth of knowledge they have accumulated over a lifetime of professional and personal experiences -- tapping into that collective knowledge allows us to make good ideas better,” Andreadis explained.

“Our PSA Contest tapped the creativity and energy that thrives on YouTube,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Jenny Backus. “We engaged people and they in turn engaged each other. Our important messages about how to prevent the flu reached a new audience of people at increased risk from the H1N1 virus.”

These initiatives are in direct response to the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government the President issued on January 21, 2009, his first full day in office, calling for recommendations for making the Federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

Information Streaming of HHS biomedical research innovations by NIH and FDA is featured at

IdeaLab and YouTube Know What to Do About the Flu and Prevention PSA Contest is featured in the White House Open Government Innovations Gallery (

For more information about programs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, please see:



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