Feb. 4, 2016
CONTACT: Arthur Hirsch
For Immediate Release
Clinicians, engineers to collaborate in Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare
The Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering announces the establishment of The Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, a new research effort that brings together engineers, clinicians, and health care providers who are developing and deploying research-based innovations aimed at enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency of health care.
The Malone Center builds on the School of Engineering’s history of successful collaborations across the Johns Hopkins institutions, including with the university’s renowned School of Medicine, and will create clinician-engineering teams focused on three priority areas of innovation: data analytics, systems design and analysis, and technology and devices.
Working in these areas, the teams of leading engineers and physician-scientists will help speed innovation and its impact on society by integrating their research-based advances with practical applications. They will develop and deploy systems optimizations, data analytics, and technologies designed to help physicians provide more effective health care.
The center is being established through the support of Whiting School alumnus John C. Malone, who earned a master’s degree and doctorate at Johns Hopkins. Malone has been remarkably generous in his giving to Johns Hopkins, including a gift for the construction and naming of Malone Hall. The building, which opened in 2014, is designed to advance cutting-edge collaborative and translational research and has set a new standard for academic research facilities at Johns Hopkins. Malone has also supported the Whiting School with a series of professorships associated with the center. The first of the new endowed professorships is the Mandell Bellmore Professorship, named for Malone’s PhD advisor at Johns Hopkins. Gregory D. Hager, a professor of computer science, is the inaugural Mandell Bellmore Professor and is the Malone Center’s founding director.
The Malone Center provides an infrastructure to help support and enhance research initiatives already taking place throughout Johns Hopkins as it also sparks new collaborations. For example, some current activities include:
Neurologist and Malone Professor John Krakauer has been leading a team that developed and is now testing a computer game meant to help stroke patients recover by using their arms to control the movements of a virtual dolphin appearing on a screen in front of them.
Computer scientist Suchi Saria led work to develop an algorithm that identifies hospital patients at greatest risk of septic shock. Using records of thousands of patients at a Boston hospital, the method was able to predict septic shock before organ dysfunction two-thirds of the time, a 60-percent improvement over existing screening.
Computer scientist Ilya Shpitser, who is being named a John C. Malone Assistant Professor, works on drawing intelligent conclusions from biased data, especially in complex multivariate settings, and then applying this data analysis to problems in healthcare, medicine, and epidemiology.
Hager said that to be effective, innovation in healthcare must be a “team sport” involving engineering-clinician collaborative teams embedded in the healthcare environment at the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine, nursing and public health.
“More than a decade of working with medical practitioners has taught me that silver bullets in health care innovation are few and far between – we have to build a culture of working together on a continuing and sustained basis to have real impact,” Hager said. “The payoffs will be huge,” he said. “We aim to make Johns Hopkins the national leader for technology innovation in health care.”
Ed Schlesinger, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, said “Johns Hopkins is uniquely positioned for engineering-based innovation in healthcare because of our history and culture of collaboration, combined with a world-renowned hospital system and engineering school. We are so very grateful for Dr. Malone’s continued support of our mission, including the professorships and the naming of this new center in the Whiting School of Engineering.”
Dr. Paul Rothman, Dean of the Medical Faculty, vice president for medicine of the Johns Hopkins University and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine also noted that Johns Hopkins is particularly well suited for this project, as “the relationship between engineering and medicine is woven into the fabric of our schools, and where creative problem solving and a willingness to take risks are prized. It is clear that the juncture of technology and medicine will continue to reshape health care and will have enormous impact on how we diagnose disease, deliver care and conduct health-related research.”
Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said that bringing engineers into all aspects of medical practice at Johns Hopkins “would enhance the impact of our already preeminent health sciences enterprises. We are breaking down barriers and coming together as one university, dedicated to advancing wholly new approaches to health care.”
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