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IHME professor named first health measurement winner of prestigious innovation award
Date:8/21/2012

n behind in efforts to improve population health.

"We are able to understand what is truly causing the greatest amount of mortality and disability in the world because of technical advancements that can be traced back to Abie scribbling on a white board in his office," said Dr. Mohsen Naghavi, Associate Professor of Global Health at IHME and one of the lead researchers on the GBD project.

Dr. Flaxman also has made significant advancements in verbal autopsy methods for gathering health data in low-resource settings. His machine learning algorithm for computer-certified verbal autopsy takes the results of a health interview of relatives about a recently deceased person and automatically determines the cause of death. He also created a stock-and-flow model for tracking the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria. The results are updated annually and included in the World Health Organization's World Malaria Report.

The advancements Dr. Flaxman and colleagues have made in data-driven data quality audits (D3QA) were recently recognized at the "Symposium on Computing for Development." Their publication on the development of the D3QA tool won the best-paper award. The tool can be used to ensure that health data and other data gathered from household surveys are accurate. It is currently being used in research aimed at estimating mortality from war-related causes in Iraq.

Dr. Flaxman has accomplished all of this in just four years. He was on track to join the legions of computer scientists who staff technology giants such as Microsoft and Amazon. While working at Microsoft Research in 2008, he applied for an IHME Post-Graduate Fellowship. His extraordinary work as a Post-Graduate Fellow propelled him to being hired as a UW faculty member.

"The world is not lacking in health data, and yet certain basic information has never been quantified," Dr. Flaxman said. "I realized four years ago that I could use computational algorithms
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Contact: William Heisel
wheisel@uw.edu
206-897-2886
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Source:Eurekalert

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