US-UK Partners Launch Obesity Data Challenge

The de Beaumont Foundation, in collaboration with the Health Data Consortium (HDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced the Obesity Data Challenge, a joint U.S.-England initiative to tackle the epidemic of adult obesity.

The Obesity Data Challenge is part of two parallel, prize-based competitions running in the United States and in England, where it is led by National Health Service (NHS) England and their organizing partner, Rewired State. Each country’s challenge participants can utilize and mash up open data to develop new data visualization tools to give communities, local health officials, patients and practitioners new means to improve population health.

In the U.S. challenge, HDC and the de Beaumont Foundation are seeking solutions that enable health care professionals and local health officials to help patients and families address the obesity epidemic at both a personal and community level. Entrants are encouraged to utilize open government data sets from HealthData.gov; alternatively, entrants can propose to make data they already collect available to the public under an open reuse license.

“The de Beaumont Foundation is proud to be the sponsor of the Obesity Data Challenge. Armed with innovative ways to use data, health officials and community leaders will be better able to tackle obesity and other health challenges. At de Beaumont, we work to support and transform how the U.S. approaches public health. Harnessing data for public health action at the local level is a significant part of that transformation,” said Edward L. Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer of the de Beaumont Foundation.

The challenge is part of an ongoing partnership between HHS and NHS England that began in January 2011 to work together on health data and information technology tools to improve the quality and delivery of care in both countries.

“The Obesity Data Challenge represents a true milestone in our collaboration with the UK. Though our health care systems are different, there are opportunities in our health data to build solutions and tools that bring together providers and consumers to meaningfully address obesity in both countries,” said HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

The Obesity Data Challenge will be announced during Health Datapalooza 2015, a national conference hosted by HDC that brings together a broad spectrum of leaders and stakeholders to discuss the future of open health data.

“The Obesity Data Challenge is an example of how the health data movement can address some of the greatest challenges we face in healthcare – both at home in the U.S. and around the world,” said Chris Boone, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Health Data Consortium. “Health Data Consortium is proud to collaborate with the de Beaumont Foundation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NHS England and Rewired State, bringing together the power of both the public and private sectors, to foster the development of new tools that leverage open and accessible data for the public good.”

In the U.S. challenge, competing participants can submit entries, which must contain at least one piece of open government data from a government agency, until July 31. The awards will be given to the best submissions as determined by a panel of judges. A multi-tiered award of $40,000 will be divided among five winners. Winners of both the U.S. and England Obesity Data Challenges will be announced in September.