Roux Prize launched for global health

Big Data is on everyone’s minds, particularly given Greater Seattle’s role in the Big Data industry. It’s no surprise to find it in global health either, particularly since Greater Seattle is a major player in that field as well. And now it’s being recognised officially, or rather, the people who use Big Data in a health context are.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington has announced the creation of the Roux Prize, a $100,000 prize aimed at recognising individuals contributing to population health through Global Burden of Disease (GBD), the special interest of David Roux, a board member of IHME, who has always encouraged the institute to use GBD to improve population health. There’s no point to collecting it without using it. The award is named in honour of him and his wife, Barbara.

Global Burden of Disease is quantifying the magnitude of health loss due to diseases, injuries, and other risk factors; for example, GBD could be used to determine how many lives are lost in a given country due to unhelmeted bike riding, to provide support for a health initiative to improve the use of helmets. The current state of the study is the very definition of Big Data – GBD 2010, the latest study done, which has almost 500 co-authors, provides information on nearly 300 diseases and injuries, 67 risk factors, and 1,160 non-fatal health consequences for 21 global regions, including 187 countries, and 20 age groups, of both sexes. The study is done with the intent of guiding change through a thorough understanding of the health challenges that change could address. The Roux Prize will honor health leaders who follow this approach in their work.

Nominations for the award are due March 21, 2014, and nominees can be located anywhere in the world, in almost any field that touches on health. The winner will be honored in September of 2014.

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