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ODU Center for Global Health wins Two Governor’s Technology Awards

By Irvin B. Harrell

The Old Dominion University Center for Global Health was named winner of the 2019 Governor's Technology Awards in two categories on Sept. 5 at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium in Richmond.

These prestigious awards honor outstanding achievements and recognize innovative technology initiatives that promote collaboration with the public sector and community outreach. The center's two winning projects featured its collaboration with the ODU School of Community and Environmental Health, the ODU Department of Computer Sciences and leaders from the Chesapeake Health Department.

"These awards recognize the innovative use of IT to support the unique missions of the local health departments, local public health organizations and universities," said Michele Kekeh, project leader and the assistant director of Center for Global Health. "The ODU Center for Global Health plays a unique role as the pillar of the framework by facilitating this important collaboration."

A panel of 10 judges from state, county, city and education chose ODU's projects among 10 statewide winners. ODU won two out of three projects awarded to higher education institutions.

"These projects demonstrate the center's commitment to our local communities and these honors will greatly contribute to ODU's goal to build a new School of Public Health," said Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, director of the ODU Center for Global Health.

One of projects, "Data Analytics and Technology Help Shape Baby," focused on a nurse case management program (BabyCare) in Chesapeake that provides home visitation and clinical management of high-risk maternity patients and infants over several months to years. The Chesapeake Health Department, under the direction of Dr. Nancy Welch, provided the data to the center, which analyzed the data and conducted the research. The results showed that the rates of infant mortality, very low birth weight and prematurity were lower in the BabyCare program participants compared to non-participants.

The other winning project, "Technology to Evaluate Service Learning," featured the collaboration of the center with Ajay Gupta with ODU's Computer Science Department and leaders of the Chesapeake Health Department in developing a tool to manage and evaluate the impact of service-learning projects. The project examined the effectiveness of practicum courses and community engagement opportunities by students working with health departments and other community organizations. The project was made possible by an internal grant from the ODU Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT).

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