Data and Technology for Good Rewarded with 2014 Heinz Awards

April 7, 2014

This blog post was authored by HEFN Director Kathy Sessions.

Last week in Pittsburgh, five people received 2014 Heinz Awards from Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation.  This nineteenth year of the prestigious awards celebrated “the enduring spirit of hope and the power of innovation,” honoring several individuals whose work in very different areas each draws on data and technology for social good.

Jonathan Foley, 2014 Environment Award receipient, Heinz Family Foundation.

The Environment Award, for instance, went to Jonathan Foley, PhD, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.  The awards cited Dr. Foley’s use of sophisticated computer models to understand how complex areas like global ecosystems, climate change, and food production interact.  Also cited was Foley’s work in synthesizing complex global change information into accessible communication and actionable plans for improving global food security and sustainability.

Sanjeev Arora, 2014 Public Policy Award receiptient, Heinz Family Foundation.

Dr. Sanjeev Arora won the Public Policy Award for Project ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes), a model helping strengthen primary care clinicians’ expertise through videoconference technology and case-based learning.  Salman Khan won the Human Condition Award for his Khan Academy, a nonprofit platform for free online educational resources in areas from mathematics to health and medicine. Leilah Janah won the Technology, the Economy and Employment Award for her work with Samasource and SamaUSA, creating “microwork” opportunities for low-income digital workers. 

Abraham Verghese, 2014 receipient of the Arts and Humanities Award.

Providing something of a counterpart to the other awards highlighting data and technology for social good, the Arts and Humanities award went to Abraham Verghese, MD, a physician and writer renowned for focusing on the role of physician as healer and of the importance of physician-patient interactions along with technological advances in medicine.

Numerous previous Heinz awards have honored individuals for contributions at the intersection of environment and health, including the 2013 Environment Award to pediatrician and public health physician Richard Jackson, and 2012 Special Focus awards to marine genomicist Louis Guillette and to ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber.

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