Funding Announcement: Helping Individuals Understand and Improve Their Health through AI-Powered Insights

illustration of a cell phone with health data and people walking a mountain trail

Guest post by Allison Dennis, PhD, Program Officer for the Division of Extramural Programs, National Library of Medicine.

In the age of information, our personal data are more than just a string of numbers—they are a powerful tool that hold the potential to shape our health and improve our well-being. The emerging field of personal health informatics strives to bridge the gap between personally generated health data and individuals receiving real-time information to make informed decisions about their health. NLM’s Division of Extramural Programs (EP) is excited to be part of this emerging field and contribute to NLM’s vision to unleash the potential of data and information. Since 2017, NLM has funded more than 40 personal health informatics projects that have transformed the field of health informatics.

With advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), and with the availability of new tools that can transform personal health data into personalized health recommendations, the possibilities are truly endless. The range of data that hold clues about our health is always expanding, from app clicks on our smartphones and heart rate measurements on our smartwatches, to notes from our doctors, our laboratory test results, and the quality of the air around us, just to name a few.

a smartphone and smartwatch reminding people of NIH Notice of Funding Opportunity
Do you have ideas to advance the field of personal health informatics? Click here to check out our notice of funding opportunity!

Can Personal Health Informatics Change Our Health Outcomes?

Models trained on extensive medical and health data can identify patterns, anomalies, and potential health risks. The insights generated by these models can be translated into personalized lifestyle recommendations delivered through apps and transformed into digital interventions that can guide individuals toward healthier habits. They might also help individuals better manage and track health conditions over the long term. This proactive approach has the potential to shift health from reactive crisis management by clinicians to preventive care by individuals.

A New NLM Program: Personal Health Informatics for Delivering Actionable Insights to Individuals

NLM sees many important research questions to move the personal health informatics field forward. The NLM EP recently announced a notice of funding opportunity titled Personal Health Informatics for Delivering Actionable Insights to Individuals (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) (PAR-23-245). This funding opportunity seeks proposals that further the science of personal health informatics by providing meaningful and actionable insights to individuals through innovative personal health data collection, integration, and analysis, as well as personalized risk assessments and interpretation. NLM is especially interested in research exploring:  

  • How AI can extract and interpret patterns from an individual’s health data
  • How generated insights can be communicated and used by individuals to improve health outcomes
  • How data science approaches can develop personalized, informatics-based interventions for individuals based on their personal health data
  • How data science can integrate personal health data from multiple sources to provide individuals with a comprehensive and accurate view of their health
  • How data processing and analysis techniques can generate actionable insights and risk assessments from personal health informatics data
  • The most effective design features of individual-facing personal health informatics tools and how technology can be used to ensure these features are accessible and user-friendly for diverse groups
  • How emerging technologies such as large language models, decision aids, and interactive visualization tools can be incorporated into personal health informatics tools to improve an individual’s understanding of the risks and recommendations and their associated limitations and accuracies generated by predictive models

NLM is excited to invest in novel informatics and data science approaches that help us understand how to best develop and design personal health informatics. We expect researchers to work directly with the public to ensure the tools and technology developed are acceptable, feasible, and scalable.

Are You a Researcher with Innovative Ideas?

Are you passionate about delivering personalized insights to individuals and have new ideas? This is your chance to answer the research questions needed to drive the field of personal health informatics forward. Send me an email at if you are developing a personal health informatics project aligned with one of our research questions. We are always happy to discuss the scope of a potential project and appreciate the opportunity to review draft specific aims. Now is the perfect time to become part of the community that’s using data science and informatics to advance the field of personal health informatics.

Allison Dennis, PhD

Program Officer, Division of Extramural Programs

Dr. Dennis serves as the scientific contact for Bioinformatics, Translational Informatics, Personal Health Informatics, and the NIH Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program as part of the NLM’s Small Business Program in the NLM Extramural Research Program. Prior to joining NLM, Dr. Dennis was a Technical Lead in the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, where she oversaw initiatives in artificial intelligence, and a Health Informatics Officer with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT where she advanced health IT standards for scientific discovery. Dr. Dennis holds a PhD in Biology from Johns Hopkins. She has nearly a decade of experience conducting data-driven biomedical research as part of the NIH Intramural Research Program.

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