Feds win Harvard awards

The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation

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Two federal technology initiatives were among five programs that won the government equivalent of Oscars from Harvard University.

Sponsored by university's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government, the Innovations in American Government Award recognizes government efforts that are creative, effective and address significant problems. Each of the winners, who were selected from more than 1,000 applications this year, will receive $100,000 to help replicate their efforts elsewhere.

The National Institutes of Health won for a Web site called ClinicalTrials.gov, which provides information about more than 11,000 government and privately sponsored clinical trials across the country. It also includes a spell-check application that helps users find correct information even if they misspell the disease or procedure they are looking for.

Since it was launched more than four years ago, the site has received more than 75 million hits and daily visits have more than doubled from 7,000 to 16,000 just in the last two years.

The Justice Department also won an award for its Performance-based Standards for Juvenile Correction and Detention Facilities program. It is a self-improvement and accountability system used to improve treatment and services for young people in custody. The program sets national standards for safety, education, health services, security and justice within facilities and helps users improve their facilities.

Data from various reports are entered into a secure Web portal, which can then provide information on 106 outcome measures, including youth and staff injuries, suicidal behavior, health and mental health screening, and services and links to community providers and others. Juvenile agencies can then use results to help improve their facilities and services.

To date, 122 facilities

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