HHS, Justice projects receive innovation award

Two projects headed by the Health and Human Services and Justice departments today received $100,000 awards for their ability to use technology to address significant problems creatively.

HHS' Clinicaltrials.gov Web site, run by the National Institutes of Health, and Justice's Office of Justice Programs performance standards for juvenile correction and detention facilities site were among the five federal, state and local government IT projects honored with the 17th annual Innovations in American Government Award by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University and the Council for Excellence in Government.

'This year's winners vividly demonstrate the breadth and depth of public sector creativity and ingenuity,' said Stephen Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis and faculty chairman at the Ash Institute.

The five winners were selected from more than 1,000 applicants and 15 finalists.

Clinicaltrials.gov, which was launched in February 2000, provides a centralized place to find information on more than 11,000 clinical trials, including location, design, purpose and criteria for participation.

The portal is accessible to everyone, includes a medical spell check and is written in plain English.

Justice's site, at www.pbstandards.org, is a self-improvement and accountability system used by 26 states and the city of Washington to improve the quality of youth life and treatment centers. The office sets standards for safety, education, health and mental health services, security, justice and order within the facilities.

It also gives agencies the ability to collect data, analyze performance results, design improvements and measure effectiveness with subsequent data and performance reports.

'In the past, agencies feared data collection because it just indicated shortcomings,' said Patricia McGinnis, president and chief executive officer for the Council for Excellence in Government. 'PBS gives facilities a complete picture of what is wrong and that information can empower them to make things right.'

The other winners included:

  • Baltimore's CitiStat, which collects data from the city's 311 call center to improve government responsiveness.

  • Seattle's Natural Drainage Systems Program, which plants, trees and soil to replicate traditional pipes and vaults to purify and transport the city's storm water runoff.

  • San Francisco's Resolve to Stop the Violence Project, which puts violent offenders in a program to change their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.


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