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Kira Bradford spoke on efforts from the “Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL)” Data Stewardship Group to provide solutions for managing and coordinating the diverse data across the NIH HEAL Initiative. The HEAL Initiative is a trans-agency effort that aims to develop scientific solutions to the opioid crisis. Bradford explained that as the opioid crisis is a multifaceted issue, many different types of studies are needed to address treatment and understand why some patients may be more susceptible to opioid use disorder. The 686+ studies under the HEAL Initiative have produced a massive amount of data, with over 20 data types and eight species accounted for. Although the eventual goal is for this data to be accessible and usable by all patients, communities, clinicians, researchers, and agencies involved with the HEAL Initiative through the HEAL Data Ecosystem, several of the studies lack a data management coordinating center and do not have access to best practices on data collection, storage, processing, and quality control. Additionally, it became apparent to Bradford’s team that inclusion of features such as harmonization, accessibility, and discoverability would provide greater benefits for the ecosystem and its users. The end goal for Bradford and her team, working as the HEAL Data Stewardship Group, is to promote a culture of data sharing by working in partnership with the HEAL platform, researchers, investigators, advocates, and stakeholders to help them find and enable results data. The group intends to become the connection between investigators, data repositories, and the platform. Given the wide variety in data types and species, the HEAL Stewards determined that a distributed ecosystem architecture, where investigators store their data in a repository that best fits its needs and enlists best practices for data curation and sustainability. The HEAL platform will interact with these repositories by becoming a catalog of all of the metadata that exists about the studies, so that the scientific community can access and analyze this data. Bradford ended her talk by explaining that the Data Stewards are huge proponents of FAIR principles and host a monthly webinar series about how these principles play into the larger ecosystem. 

Click here to view the talk on YouTube.


Kira Bradford, Senior Technical and Research Scientist

Department: Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) | Faculty Profile

Featured on: July 28, 2022 (Event Page)

Session Title: Data Science: Zero-to-Sixty (Event Recap

Tools, Information, and Resources:

  • NIH HEAL Initiative Data Stewardship Group: The HEAL Data Stewardship Group is working across the HEAL Data Community to provide solutions for managing and coordinating the diverse data across The Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative℠, or NIH HEAL Initiative℠.