SSRI has a long run interest in connecting social scientists more closely to data and expertise in the medical field in general as well as Duke's Medical Center in particular. Our aim is to contribute to the building of a larger interdisciplinary community that can combine expertise in medicine, social and population science, and data analytics to advance knowledge in this important area. Join our listserv if you are interested in this effort.
The effort started following a shared recognition that we were not well positioned to respond to major grant calls (such as BD2K), and it initially involved SSRI, the Duke Center for Health Informatics and the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD). A group of faculty and supporting staff met as the "2014 Duke BD2K" group (whose meetings are detailed below). Since this effort, a number of related efforts have gotten under way, including collaborative efforts with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and more recently the Provost's office at Duke.
Then, in January of 2015, SSRI (in collaboration with the Provost's office and iiD) issued Round 1 of a $250,000 Social Science Challenge to gather ideas for breaking down interdisciplinary barriers in important areas. Several proposed ideas, particularly one put forward by the Duke Institute for Population Research, centered around the need to bring greater infrastructure to collaborations around medical data between the medical school and social and population scientists. We are now in Round 2 of the Challenge, with the goal of collaboratively identifying how to deploy the $250,000 most effectively to meet this goal. Please contact us if you would like to learn more and/or become involved.