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Per Gesteland Honored with Homer R. Warner Award

Homer R. Warner Award

The Homer R. Warner Award is named for Homer R. Warner, MD, PhD, a pioneer in the field of informatics and the founder of the Department of Medical Informatics at the University of Utah. A cash prize is awarded for the paper chosen at the AMIA Annual Symposium that best describes approaches to improving computerized information acquisition, knowledge data acquisition and management, and experimental results documenting the value of these approaches. The candidate papers are drawn from the distinguished paper nominees recommended by the AMIA Annual Symposium Scientific Program Committee, and the selection of the recipient is made by the University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics.

Dr. Per Gesteland was presented with this award at the AMIA Annual Conference on October 25, 2011. Per is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah.  Congratulations!

The CommonGround Infectious Disease Weather Map: An Interactive Visual Exploration of Temporal Correlations

Per H. Gesteland, MD, MS1, 2 Yarden Livnat, PhD3, Nathan Galli, BS3, Matthew H. Samore, MD2,4,5, Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, MS2,4,5 Departments of 1Pediatrics, 2Biomedical Informatics and 4Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, 3Scientific and Computing Imaging Institute, 5VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah


Advances in the science of surveillance have helped public health agencies track the multitude of recent outbreaks. Increasingly, epidemiologists have been tasked with interpreting multiple streams of heterogeneous data arising from varied surveillance systems. However, public health personnel have experienced an overload of plots and charts, as information visualization techniques have not kept pace. We sought to advance the science of public health surveillance data visualization by (1) Conceptualizing a visual paradigm that provides a ‘Common Ground’ for detection, monitoring, exploration and discovery of regional infectious disease activity and (2) Developing a software prototype of an ‘Infectious Disease Weather Map’. We elucidated design objectives and developed our conceptual model using cognitive task analysis with public health epidemiologists. We developed a software prototype using retrospective data from a large, regional pediatric hospital and re-created gastro-intestinal and respiratory disease outbreaks as a proof-of-concept.