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May 2015 - Issue 3
Welcome to the Battelle Health & Analytics, a quarterly publication from Battelle. We put this together as a service to our public health clients, to keep you informed of the latest public health news from our researchers and the industry.
The Battelle Health & Analytics team works with agencies and healthcare institutions to advance public health research, practice and policy with the latest science and technology. Battelle Health and Analytics will keep you up-to-date on cutting edge research and public health innovations.
Battelle has been selected to provide operational support for the Ebola Response activities coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Operation Center (EOC).
The EOC provides infrastructure support for emergency response activities and exercises including management of staff rosters, operational planning and budget coordination. In response to the recent Ebola epidemic, the EOC is supporting ongoing surveillance, diagnostic and education activities as well as two clinical trials for potential Ebola vaccines. While Ebola is no longer at the top of world news, the outbreak is far from over and much work remains to be done to ensure that disease transmission will continue to decline.
Battelle staff will work directly with the EOC’s Incident Command Structure for six months starting in April 2015 through Battelle’s Technical Onsite Professional Services (TOPS), part of the Health and Analytics Business Unit (HABU). For the Ebola project, TOPS staff will provide logistical and project management support to help coordinate the many parts of the EOC Ebola response plan. This was a Direct Award to Battelle. Battelle was chosen for our prior experience with the CDC and expertise in public health emergency response.
TOPS provides technical support staff for government agencies including the CDC. TOPS Site Director Frank Pasztor will serve as the Program Director for the project. Mr. Pasztor has 23 years of experience in the scientific and laboratory fields, with 19 years of management experience. The Battelle TOPS team looks forward to additional support opportunities should the government choose to request our services.
Are programs directed at childhood obesity working? Battelle is working with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find out.
Battelle is implementing the Healthy Communities Study (HCS), the first study to systematically examine the association between characteristics of community programs and policies targeting childhood obesity and children’s obesity-related outcomes. Working with partners at the University of South Carolina, the University of Kansas and the University of California-Berkeley, the Battelle team has launched data collection in a diverse sample of 130 communities across the country.
The complex data collection protocol includes community, school, household and individual data. Trained Battelle staff conduct semi-structured interviews with local key informants to document the evolution of community programs and policies related to diet and physical activity over the past ten years, including intervention strategy, duration, and estimated reach. The Battelle team has completed interviews with more than 1,100 key informants to date. School personnel have provided information on programs and policies related to nutrition and physical activity, and trained project staff have visited schools and recorded observational data on the school environment.
Battelle has trained more than 200 local field data collectors to conduct neighborhood observations and structured family interviews and obtain current measurements and medical records for child participants. Staged sampling is used to collect measures of physical activity and nutrition across the entire sample of children, with a subset assessed using more costly and detailed measures. Battelle has completed household data collection with more than 4,200 families to date and medical records retrieval is in process.
Data from the HCS will be analyzed to describe childhood obesity outcomes as a function of current program/policy intensity within their communities. Children’s growth trajectories will be modeled as a function of how programs and policies have evolved over time in each community. Data collection will end in fall 2015 and data analysis will be completed in summer 2016.
In addition to NHLBI, four other NIH institutes are contributing funding for this project. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also partners in this study.
Battelle has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Program Support Center. The PSC is a shared services provider within the U.S. Government that is used by the Department of the Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies to coordinate contracts and procurement and provide shared administrative services. The five-year contract (which includes options which could extend the contract vehicle up to an additional five years) puts Battelle on a list of federally approved vendors who can bid on task orders put out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies.
The IDIQ contract has a ceiling of $500 million and can support work in the areas of policy assessment and analysis, program assessments, evaluation design studies and data collection, performance measurement, technical support, data analysis and support services for a wide range of projects for government clients.
Battelle was selected to hold this IDIQ vehicle because of our experience and proven past performance in all scope areas covered by the IDIQ. In the public health arena, Battelle has deep expertise in program and policy assessment and analysis, program management, evaluation design, data collection and analysis, medical readiness and emergency response planning. Battelle researchers have been involved in a number of federal programs and studies, including important studies on tobacco use, breastfeeding, childhood obesity and many other critical public health issues.
Battelle researcher Dr. Robert Alexander, Jr. is the coauthor of a CDC study evaluating the cost effectiveness of an innovative national antismoking media campaign. A Cost Effectiveness Analysis of the First Federally Funded Antismoking Campaign, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (released March 2015), demonstrates that the 2012 Tips From Former Smokers campaign was a highly cost-effective mass media intervention in terms of premature deaths averted, life years saved (LY), and quality adjusted life years (QALY) gained among U.S. adult smokers.
Dr. Alexander, a CDC employee at the time, assisted with the creative development of the campaign and led the evaluation and analysis to determine the impact of the campaign including public attitudes towards smoking and quit attempt rates. In 2013, he coauthored a manuscript titled, Effects of the First Federally Funded U.S. Antismoking National Media Campaign which describes the main outcomes of the 2012 campaign. The cost effectiveness study showed that the Tips From Former Smokers campaign, with total campaign expenditures of about $48 million, spent approximately $480 per quitter, $2,820 per premature death averted, $390 per LY saved, and $270 per QALY gained. A widely accepted limit for the cost-effectiveness of a public health program is $50,000 per year of life saved.
Dr. Alexander joined the Battelle Health and Analytics Business Unit (HABU) in October of 2014. Previously, he was a Health Communications Specialist in the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, where he coordinated program research and evaluation activities and provided technical assistance to states and other entities on health communication and marketing strategies. His previous work includes formative research on the development of tobacco cessation campaigns for the Florida Department of Health and DoD/TRICARE. Dr. Alexander received his Ph.D. in health policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, his Masters in Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and a B.S. in Public Health/Biology from Rutgers University.
In his new role as a Director of Business Development for the Battelle Health and Analytics Business Unit, Dr. Alexander will continue to offer his social science and communications expertise to CDC and other Battelle clients.
Please join us in welcoming our latest additions to the Battelle Health and Analytics team. Their research and clinical experience will help us to continue to expand our public health research programs and services.
Shoshona Le began her career with Battelle as a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Scientist on 2/23/2015. Shoshona is on-site at the CDC in Atlanta and supports the Influenza Sequencing Activity team. Shoshona has over 12 years of experience performing complex molecular assays in research and clinical laboratories. Shoshona received her BS in Biology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Her expertise includes wet bench research at the Pharmacology Department at the VA in Denver and managing and participating in research in a human molecular genetics laboratory at Emory University focusing on Copy Number Variation in various diseases utilizing the Affymetrix, Agilent and Illumina HD platforms. Most recently, she designed, validated and implemented NGS for human clinical samples on the Illumina HiSeq and MiSeq at the Emory Genetics Laboratory under CLIA, CAP, HIPPA and OSHA guidelines. Shoshona is also an accomplished artist and her work has been shown in and around Atlanta. In between work, art and raising two teenagers, Shoshona is an amazing florist.
Brian Lynch began his career with Battelle as a Next Generation Sequencing Scientist on 3/2/2015. Brian is on-site at the CDC in Atlanta and supports the Diagnostic Development Team in the Influenza Division. Brian graduated with a BS in Biochemistry from Boston College. He has over 13 years of laboratory experience. His expertise ranges from managing a DNA sequencing core at Georgia Tech; wet bench research in a human molecular genetics lab focusing on neurological disorders at Emory University; and most recently processing human clinical samples under CLIA, CAP, HIPAA, and OSHA guidelines for next generation sequencing utilizing both the Illumina and Ion Torrant platforms at the Emory Genetics Laboratory. In addition to being a science guy, Brian is an avid participant and past President of Ultimate Frisbee in Atlanta. When he’s not hammering the disc, Brian is also an accomplished apiarist.
The Battelle Health and Analytics Business Unit is pleased to support the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund. Battelle contributed $20,000 to the organization to support scholarships for low-income women.
As a nonprofit organization dedicated to working for the betterment of humanity, Battelle commits significant money each year to philanthropic activities to support organizations with similar goals. The Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund provides scholarships and support to help low-income women aged 35 and older build better lives through college completion.