NSF announces new Smart Health and Wellbeing program

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NSF logoJeannette Wing, Assistant Director for NSF/CISE, posted on the CCC blog today about a new program announced late last week by the NSF,  Smart Health and Wellbeing.

We are looking for your great ideas for how advances in computer and information science and engineering can transform the nature and conduct of healthcare and wellness as we know it today.

The announcement coincides with the release of the CCC’s latest report on the intersection of IT research and healthcare, “Information Technology Research Challenges for Healthcare: From Discovery to Delivery.”

As a community, we are calling for a large-scale, comprehensive, coordinated, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary basic research investment by the Federal government. We believe this investment must involve computer scientists, but it should also include allied areas of systems engineering and the social sciences. As these areas are core constituencies of the National Science Foundation, the agency must be heavily involved. (Indeed, NSF’s CISE Directorate just announced a Smart Health and Wellbeing Program for FY 11, which “aims to facilitate large-scale discoveries that yield long-term, transformative impact in how we treat illness and maintain our health”: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10575/nsf10575.htm.)

HPC is already playing a role on the discovery side of healthcare as big iron helps researchers sift through vast genomic databases and performs sophisticated first principles modeling to assess the efficacy of potential new drugs. But, just as HPC is transforming manufacturing and logistics management, surely it will have a role to play on the delivery side of healthcare as well. Data from networks of simple sensors deployed in millions of homes of stay-at-home seniors will need to be mined and correlated to find the behaviors that predict an upcoming fall, and we can do a far better job of preventing adverse drug interactions for patients on multiple medications prescribed by multiple physicians.

If you are already working in this area, drop us a comment and let everyone know what you are doing.