Big Data for Oral Health Knowledge; How to get the Big Answers

Researchers from the Universities of Michigan and Pittsburgh have been planning with IADR Global HQ staff and Internet2 a workshop about Big Data in conjunction with the 2015 IADR General Session in Boston. Many important stakeholders have been invited to this workshop that will explore new challenges now faced by dental researchers. Leading dental researchers from across the globe, such as Drs. Mary Marazita, Ira Lamster and Marjorie Jeffcoat; industry partners from organizations, such as Kaiser Permanente, ESPE, DentaQuest and Henry Schein; representatives from governmental organizations, such as NIH/NIDCR, WHO; representatives from organizations, such as ADEA, IFDEA and IADR; and technology leaders, such as Laura Patterson, the CIO of the University of Michigan and Michael Sullivan Associate Director at Internet2 have accepted the invitation.

Together, the participants want to explore some of the emerging challenges, such as development of standards for storage and retrieval of health data sets, dealing with larger and larger data sets; how to bring team science and collaborations, such as practice-based networks (PBRNs) to bear on big data research questions, how to transfer data quickly, and meet HIPAA security requirements; how to use sensors and mobile devices to gather health data continuously on numerous patients and how this data should be categorized and stored; and the need for computational needs for complex data sets. The goal is to connect dental researchers with Internet2 Big Data experts with the explicit goal of exploring solutions that will result in Big Answers.

Internet2 is helping researchers in healthcare and numerous other domains solve the challenges of data capture, curation, sharing, storage, visualization, securing and transfer. As those solutions are applied to dental research disease can be prevented and human health improved. It is these very issues that prompted the NIH to launch its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program in 2012.

Internet2 is much more than a network. Internet2 is a community of U.S. and international leaders in research, academia, industry and government who create and collaborate via innovative technologies. The mission of Internet2 is to work with the research and education (R&E) community to accelerate research discovery, advance national and global education, and improve the delivery of public services. Internet2 is comprised of 252 universities, 82 leading corporations, 68 affiliate members (including CDC, NIH, NSF, HHS, among others), 41 state and regional networks, and more than 65 national R&E partners representing over 100 countries. The Internet2 community touches nearly every major innovation that defines our modern digital lives—and continues to define “what’s next.”

The Workshop will try to achieve the following goals:

  • Articulate the issues around big data that dental researchers are facing
  • Dental research community articulates what they need from vendors
  • Bring international stakeholders in dental research enterprise together
  • Educate about Internet2 NET+ program

Tentatively agenda:
Several presentations in the morning explaining concepts, such as the Learning Health System and data repositories’ role in facilitating dental research. Information about standardized terminologies will be presented and why they are important to convert our data cemeteries into sources of knowledge. In addition, participants will learn how Internet2 can support the dental research community and explore a case where this already happens.

During the interactive afternoon, the participants will try to accomplish the following goals:

  • Identify the research questions that Internet2 can help with
  • Identify how Internet2 can support the research of dental education
  • Identify how service providers (industry) can help

Stay tuned to learn here at the DIOC blog more about the workshop.

Christopher Fox, Khalil Yazdi, Lynn Johnson, Heiko Spallek

Christopher H. Fox, DMD, DMSc Executive Director International & American Associations for Dental Research

Khalil Yazdi, PhD CIO in Residence, Cloud Services Program Development at Internet2

Lynn Johnson, PhD Professor of Dentistry, School of Dentistry Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness Clinical Professor, School of Information The University of Michigan

Heiko Spallek, DMD, PhD, MSBA Associate Professor, Dental Public Health Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Executive Director, Center for Informatics in Oral Health Translational Research School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh