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IBIS-PH Acknowledgments

IBIS-PH Contributors
IBIS-PH Indicator Owners and Editors
IBIS-Q Data Stewards
IBIS-PH and the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

The IBIS-PH system has evolved over the past two decades. The following chronology acknowledges all the major developments and the generous help we've had along the way.

First, it must be said that the present and past executive management of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), W. David Patton, David N. Sundwall, Scott D. Williams, Rod L. Betit, Robert T. Rolfs, Teresa A. Garrett, A. Richard Melton, and Allen Korhonen, have been extremely supportive of the activities listed on this page. Their interest and support has been necessary for the project's successes to date. In addition to, or perhaps because of, values personified by UDOH executive management, the UDOH has an organizational culture that values empirical evidence and is open to innovation and advancements in evidence-based decision-making.

ACTION2000 (1994-1999)

In 1994, Utah developed its first query system. The Office of Surveillance and Analysis had recently been created with funding from the CDC Assessment Initiative (LaDene Larsen in the UDOH Bureau of Chronic Disease authored the grant application, and Ken Keppel was the project officer for the AI grant). The office was also partially funded by the CDC Preventive Services Block Grant. Dr. Catherine Schumacher, M.D., M.S.P.H. was hired to direct the office, and Dr. Robert T. Rolfs, M.D., M.P.H. was assigned to Utah from the CDC to assist with the grant activities. The query system, named ACTION2000 (Assessment Capacity Through an Interactive Online Network for the year 2000), used a SAS data engine and had a DOS-based, line-editor interface. Registered users had to dial in to the system over a modem connection, and log-in using a user ID and password. Datasets available were: mortality, infant birth and death, population estimates, and communicable disease. The query system was designed and written by Elvin Asay and managed by Darryl Snyder.

HI-IQ (1995-1999)

In 1994, Zhiwei Liu, M.S. (ZW) came to work at the Utah Department of Health. With his background in information science and statistics, he saw an opportunity to build on the ACTION2000 technology by making Utah's hospital inpatient discharge data available as a web-based tool for online queries. The new query system, HI-IQ (Hospital Inpatient Internet Query), was made available to the public late in 1995. ZW's program employed an elegant system architecture for using open standards (SAS, C++) and loosely-coupled components. Users accessed the system using an Internet browser and a user-friendly "point-and-click" graphical user interface. The HI-IQ system was developed under direction of Denise Love, R.N., M.B.A., who was then Director, Office of Health Data Analysis.

The potential for a web-based system such as HI-IQ was quickly recognized, and ZW was put to work converting the ACTION2000 system to a web-based system. Query modules were designed for the mortality, infant birth and death, hospital discharge, and population estimate datasets.

MatCHIIM (1997-1999)

In 1997, the Utah Department of Health was awarded a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) (project # UD 97-008). Dr. Wu Xu, Ph.D., in the UDOH Division of Community and Family Health Services, authored the grant and directed the 3-year project. The goal of Utah's HRSA, MCHB project was to provide online query capability along with important public health contextual information for the federal Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Title V required measures (infant mortality, low birth weight, adolescent births, etc.), and to share the technology with MCH programs in state health departments in other states. Russ Scarato, HRSA, MCHB, was the project officer. The project, called the Maternal and Child Health Information Internet-query Module (MatCHIIM), used ZW's query engine, and static pages that provided graphs and information on the MCH measures. The query interface was customized for MCH users, and was modified significantly from the HI-IQ and ACTION2000 versions.

Utah worked with several other states, some of whom adopted MatCHIIM, and others who may not have implemented the technology, but who contributed to the development process. A handful of UDOH staff members contributed significantly to the MatCHIIM product, including Maria Maloney, Brenda Ralls, Ph.D., Trent Lemperle, Karen Zinner, Gulzar Shah, and Sharon Talboys.

Individual Contributors

Doug Murray
Director, Center for Health Statistics

Baoping Zhu
MCH Epidemiologist, Michigan Department of Community Health

Steve Frederick
Administrator, Section of Data Management, Nebraska Department of Health

Wei Yan, Ph.D.
State MCH Data Contact, Nevada State Bureau of Health Planning

North Dakota
Alana Knudsen-Buresh, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Health Data, North Dakota Department of Health

Mary Erikson
Chief, Health Data Analysis Section, Center for Health Statistics, State of Wisconsin

Ira Kaufman
Clinical Associate Professor, Director, Information for State Health Policy Programs, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Reed M. Gardner, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Medical Informatics, University of Utah

Charles Quade
State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services

IBIS-PH (2000-present)

In 1999, it was clear that MatCHIIM was a popular tool, and the UDOH desired to expand the technology more broadly to public health data and topics, not just MCH. We had three versions of our query system interface (all using ZW's query program), and we felt the need to consolidate them into a single website where users could go for all query needs. It was also proving to be extremely time consuming to draft and publish the web content for the contextual information on each of the MCH indicators. It was clear that if we wanted to expand the system to all public health areas, we would need to coordinate web content and distribute the load between programs.

In 2000, Utah was one of several states awarded a Data Utilization and Enhancement (DUE) grant from the HRSA, MCHB (CFDA # 93.110-U). Russ Scarato was project officer for the DUE grant. Dr. Lois M. Haggard, Ph.D., from the UDOH Center for Health Data, authored the DUE grant proposal and served as UDOH project director. Additional funding was provided by the UDOH Division of Community and Family Health Services, the MCH program (SSDI grant), and the Office of Epidemiology. During this year, the IBIS-PH system was demonstrated at three national conferences: the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO, at the invitation of Denise Love), the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS, at the invitation of Charles Sirc), and the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS, at the invitation of Ken Laliberte). Support was provided by these organizations for travel and conference attendance. The benefits of attending those conferences, generating interest and feedback on the IBIS-PH system, were extremely valuable.

The query systems were integrated into the UDOH's new health data website, named Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (IBIS-PH). A system was also developed whereby web content (tabulated numeric data, graphs, and public health contextual information) could be stored in a database. Web pages were generated dynamically from the data stored in the IBIS-PH database. This allowed for bits of information to be updated without requiring re-publishing of a static webpage. In addition, it allowed for maintenance of the pages to be distributed among multiple programs in the UDOH. Significant assistance in database design, database data entry interface, and web reporting was provided by Garth Braithwaite through a contract with Software Technology Group, Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah. UDOH staff members who provided significant assistance include ZW and Tong Zheng (query system), Rita Penza, Humaira Shah, Kim Neerings, Denise Beaudoin, Claudia Bohner, Shaheen Hossain, and Brenda Ralls (health indicator content and system testing). The current health indicator content is produced and maintained by over 100 UDOH staff throughout the Department. Data Stewards are responsible for the query system databases.

In 2002, Utah was awarded a five-year grant through the CDC's Epidemiology Program Office's Cooperative Agreement to Support State Assessment Initiatives (CFDA # 93.283). Dr. Lois M. Haggard authored the grant proposal, and served as project director. Activities funded under the Assessment Initiative included evaluation of the IBIS-PH system, creating and maintaining advisory and users groups, implementing changes to the system to address user requirements identified through users groups and system evaluation, and sharing the system with at least one other state. Utah worked with Arizona's Department of Health to share the IBIS-PH technology and Arizona became the first state to adopt IBIS-PH and establish a functional public website. In addition, Utah staff began work with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the New Mexico Department of Health, the District of Columbia Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Missouri Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, and the National Center for Health Statistics to create a Community of Practice (CoP) for IBIS-PH adopters.

In 2007, Dr. Haggard and Garth Braithwaite established an online IBIS-PH Community of Practice - Product Management website ( in order to provide easy access to all of the IBIS-PH work products and documentation, and to allow the IBIS-PH CoP to share ideas, expertise, and information. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Haggard accepted a position in the New Mexico Department of Health where she implemented New Mexico IBIS. At the same time, due to the loss of Assessment Initiative funding, Utah was unable to keep Mr. Braithwaite on the IBIS-PH project full time.

In 2008, Kathryn Marti, Director of the Office of Public Health Assessment, assumed responsibility for overall IBIS-PH project oversight in Utah. IBIS CoP members in Utah and Dr. Haggard in New Mexico participated in a focus group with Dr. John Maynard and Danielle Kahn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Public Health Informatics. Dr. Maynard and Ms. Kahn were tasked to study the use of the CoP model as a means to achieve public health work. Based on the answers of focus group participants to a number of questions, the investigators concluded that CoPs are a viable way to provide for sustained development of a public health information system.

In 2009, IBIS-PH CoP members participated in a strategic planning initiative that included the development of vision and mission statements; a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and specification of goals and objectives for the IBIS-PH CoP. Dr. Haggard presented these findings at the 2009 PHIN (Public Health Information Network) Conference, and they are available in the IBIS CoP website file repository. The goals included: 1) develop and maintain the IBIS-PH software; 2) promote adoption of IBIS-PH software; 3) maintain IBIS-PH supporting documentation; 4) facilitate communication and participation regarding web-based data dissemination; and 5) maintain sufficient funding and support to sustain activities.

Utah Department of Health staff, Dr. Barry Nangle, Director of the Center for Health Data, Dr. Wu Xu, Director of the Office of Public Health Informatics, Zhiwei Liu, Kathryn Marti, and Tong Zheng, participated with staff in the University of Utah Rocky Mountain Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics, Dr. Matthew Samore, Dr. Yarden Livnat, Heidi Kramer, and Warren Pettey, in a research study about public health visual analytics. Participants were asked to answer the research question, "Is a visual analytics tool that was developed for communicable disease outbreak investigations applicable to chronic disease and health promotion data that are available on IBIS-PH?" Using a fundamentally ethnographic approach, data were collected from selected IBIS users in order to understand their use of IBIS-PH in the context of their work. Dr. Barry Nangle presented results of this study at the 2010 American Medical Informatics Association Conference. Key findings were: 1) public health practitioners are interested in visual analytics that show correlation between interventions and improvements in community health, 2) there is demand for public health data at small geographies, and 3) the more responsible one's work role, the greater the need for authoritative population health data.

In 2010, the CoP welcomed two new members: the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and North Carolina Division of Public Health. By 2011, the CoP members together were able to pool funding so that Garth Braithwaite could be assigned to IBIS-PH full time again. And finally after a few years of slow progress, we were able to launch IBIS-PH 2.0. Since then, additional public health agencies have joined the IBIS-PH CoP including the Hawaii State Department of Health, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (Tribal Epidemiology Center).

In 2014, The UDOH Communicable Disease Analysis and Reporting Program provided funding to explore the implementation of new graphing software in IBIS-PH that can support interactive capabilities. Kendo, a proprietary and supported charting software, was chosen and will be included in IBIS-PH release 2.3. The New Mexico Department of Health funded implementation of enhanced mapping in IBIS-PH using the open-source product, Leaflet, also to be included in the soon-to-be-released IBIS-PH 2.3. CoP members communicate on an ongoing basis via the CoP website discussion forum and regularly-scheduled conference calls. As we start a new year in 2015, we in Utah look forward to continued collaboration with our partners here and around the country.

IBIS-PH and the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Starting in 2004 IBIS-PH teamed up with the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) to work towards populating IBIS-PH with additional health and environmental data and enhance user functionalities and options. The Tracking Network is a national initiative lead by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Utah is heavily involved in. This initiative aims to understand the relationships between our environment and our health. One way to do this is to provide public health and environmental data that anyone can access.

Another major advancement the Tracking Network contributed to the IBIS-PH system was the development of the Secure IBIS-PH portal. Secure IBIS-PH is a protected database of health data not legally available to the general public. Access to secure data provides researchers and health professionals the information they need to better understand environmental health, make important health-related decisions, drive public health practice, and respond to public inquiry.

The Tracking Network has added metadata capability to the IBIS-PH Query System for the Secure IBIS-PH portal. EPHT and IBIS-PH staffs have worked with the Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) to develop spatial query capability for the secure portal. Spatial query allows users to select geographic areas, such as Census Tracts or ZIP Codes, using a map instead of a list. AGRC programmers have also developed a way for IBIS-PH Query results to be mapped. Both spatial query capability and results mapping use the AGRC ArcGIS web server.

In 2013, EPHT and OPHA staffs worked with the IBIS-PH software developers, Garth Braithwaite and Paul Leo, to develop and launch a new version of IBIS-PH (2.2) that provides an innovative way for users to find Indicators and query results within topic areas such as cancer or birth defects. The Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking Website, that is basically another instance of IBIS, draws Indicator and query system data from the same sources as Utah's IBIS-PH, but provides a different view of the data. We hope to move Utah IBIS-PH to a similar format in order to better integrate information about a topic across data sets. Sam Vanous, Ph.D, conducted usability testing of this new version of IBIS-PH with a wide array of users and provided testing results that helped guide the final format for the site and will be incorporated into the main Utah IBIS-PH site.

The funding for these IBIS-PH enhancements was supported in part by Cooperative Agreements Number 5U38EH000182 and 5U38EH000954-02 from the CDC. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

We welcome others to join the CoP and look forward to future collaborations.

States or others wishing to adopt the IBIS-PH technology should contact Tong Zheng at (801) 538-6458 or

Content updated: November 2014
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 16 April 2024 17:21:22 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 13 May 2015 14:03:59 MDT