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Justice Chosen As Scientific Liaison on COVID-19 Insights Partnership

July 29, 2020
by Julie Parry

Amy C. Justice, MD, PhD, CNH Long Professor of Medicine (General Medicine), Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), and staff physician at VA Connecticut Healthcare System has been chosen to participate in the COVID-19 Insights Partnership, a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), along with the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Per the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs announcement, the “COVID-19 Insights Partnership creates a framework for VA and HHS to utilize DOE’s world-leading high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence resources to conduct COVID-19 research and analyze health data that would otherwise not be possible.”

As VA-DOE Scientific Liaison and Head of the Data/Analytics group, Justice will work closely with VA and DOE scientists to help maximize the clinical impact of their joint research. She has served in a similar role for another research initiative between VA and DOE for the past two years. She was asked to assist on the project by Rachel B. Ramoni, DMD, ScD, chief research and development officer (CRADO) for the VA.

“The DOE has a brilliant team of experts in artificial intelligence and VA has experienced clinical investigators. They asked me to help bridge communication and prioritization among these teams. As a physician, I understand the context in which clinical notes are written, labs are ordered, and medications are prescribed. As an experienced clinical investigator, I understand the strengths and limitations of conventional statistical techniques used to analyze these data,” explained Justice. “Because of my prior work with the DOE labs, when the idea came forward that we should put together all the federal data to try to address COVID, the task force was created and I was asked to take a leadership position.”

The COVID-19 Insights Partnership will focus on increasing the knowledge of COVID-19, including vaccines, treatments, virology, and other critical topics.

Justice has devoted much of her career working at the VA, having developed multiple large national cohorts based on data from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Electronic Medical Record. She has two decades of experience in the processes required to clean, validate, and standardize raw EMR data and in its analysis using standard statistical methods, machine learning techniques, and cross cohort validations.

Submitted by Julie Parry on July 29, 2020