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Cindy Fox Aisen

Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2008

Regenstrief tapped to combat potentially catastrophic disease outbreaks

March 11, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Centers for Disease Control 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 Inc. to build upon their groundbreaking work in health information exchange and biosurveillance to develop innovative public health informatics solutions to combat outbreaks of such public health hazards as anthrax, plague or 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 Dr. J. Marc Overhage and Dr. Shaun Grannis.

"Our selection to participate in this important effort recognizes Indiana's established leadership in using health information technology for public health improvement," said 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." 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," saidGrannis, a Regenstrief Institute informatician and an assistant professor of family medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

Grannis is actively involved in syndromic and bio-terrorism surveillance. He leads a multi-year project to integrate health data from over 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.

The Regenstrief Institute, Inc., an internationally recognized informatics and health-care research organization, is dedicated to the improvement of health through research that enhances the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Established in Indianapolis by philanthropist Sam Regenstrief in 1969 on the campus of the IU School of Medicine, the Institute is supported by the Regenstrief Foundation and closely affiliated with the IU School of Medicine and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana. Regenstrief Institute research scientists form a highly respected cadre of health services researchers linked to one of the largest and most comprehensive medical informatics laboratories in the world. For more information, see