UM prof among winners of heart association’s COVID-19 Data Challenge

DALLAS—Four teams of scientific researchers have been named finalists in the first phase of the American Heart Association COVID-19 Data Challenge, which focuses on understanding the relationships between COVID-19 and other health conditions, health disparities, and social determinants of health that may bring a higher burden of illness or mortality.

After peer review by a panel of 29 U.S.-based data science and public health experts, four teams will each receive $5,000 and advance to the final phase of the challenge, with a $15,000 grand prize and a $10,000 second place prize to be awarded in November.

The winners were:

  • Dr. Brahmajee Nallamothu, University of Michigan, led the project “Effect of Public Health Policies on New Confirmed Cases for Corona Virus Disease 2019 in South Korea: Lessons for the World.”
  • Brynn Sheehan, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute, and Ralitsa Maduro, Sentara Healthcare, led the project “The impact of masking policy variation on COVID-19 positive rates: Evidence of race-based differences.”
  • Ramaraju Rudraraju, University of Alabama at Birmingham, led the project “Understanding the Impact of Social Determinants of Health on COVID-19 Outbreak.”
  • Josh Fischburg, CEO at Lifemesh Corp., led the project “Segmentation of socio-economic factors and COVID-19 infection rates.”

The COVID-19 data challenge was launched by the American Heart Association, with sponsorship by Hitachi Vantara, the digital infrastructure and solutions subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., and data support by BurstIQ, a provider of blockchain-based secure data services for the healthcare industry.

The American Heart Association’s cloud-enabled Precision Medicine Platform provides access to data and work environments with high-performance computing and analytics. Researchers connected their own data with datasets hosted on BurstIQ’s Research Foundry and the Precision Medicine Platform to address questions of how COVID-19 may be disproportionally affecting those with health disparities. Researchers participating in the challenge used BurstIQ’s data exchange network and an extensive library of global COVID-19 datasets to perform analyses within workspaces on the Precision Medicine Platform.

More at or

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.