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St. Michael’s Hospital wins award for GIS application

TORONTO – ESRI Canada congratulates St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto for being selected as a 2011 Laureate winner for innovation by the International Data Group's (IDG) Computerworld Honors Program.

The annual award program honors visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change. ESRI Canada nominated St. Michael’s Hospital for BIO.DIASPORA, a scientific platform that leverages ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) technology integrated with other solutions to analyze the relationship between commercial air travel and the global spread of emerging infectious disease threats.

The project was selected from over 1,000 international entries, and joins more than 250 others from 23 countries as Laureates in this year's program.

Dr. Kamran Khan (pictured), who led the multidisciplinary team at St. Michael’s Hospital that developed BIO.DIASPORA, said: “It is an honor for BIO.DIASPORA to be recognized in this way. Our team at St. Michael’s Hospital, in collaboration with our partners at Ryerson University and the Harvard Medical School, are leveraging GIS technology to offer real-time global situational awareness of infectious disease threats that will strengthen public health security in the world.”

“BIO.DIASPORA exemplifies the highest goal of GIS which is to benefit society,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada. “The system helps protect the health of the entire global community by allowing countries to get ahead of the curve in detecting and preventing disease outbreaks before they even reach an airport. We commend St. Michael’s Hospital for their innovation in using GIS to advance overall human health. We're proud to have provided them with the technology to enable their vision and congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”

To create the BIO.DIASPORA architecture, three key software solutions were employed: ESRI’s ArcGIS technology provided powerful visualization that brought the data to life through a range of compelling Web maps; SAS business analytics software integrated and managed data; and MATLAB technical computing software was used for data analysis and numeric computation.

With BIO.DIASPORA, the world now has a system that can help enhance emergency preparedness during large-scale international events including sporting events, religious pilgrimages, economic summits, global expositions and other mass gatherings.

The system was used to accurately predict how the H1N1 virus would spread worldwide after arising in Mexico in early 2009. It has also been used to assess global infectious disease threats during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, the World Cup and the Hajj (the annual worldwide pilgrimage of millions of Muslims to Mecca); and evaluate the potential for international spread of measles out of New Zealand and cholera out of Haiti after earthquakes affected those two countries.

The system is currently being leveraged to enhance health planning for the coming 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England. As a Laureate winner, the BIO.DIASPORA case study will become part of the Honors International Program Archive, which is available to researchers, students and scholars through and through digital records housed in national archives in over 350 universities, museums and research institutions worldwide. The Computerworld Honors awards will be presented at the Annual Laureates Medal Ceremony & Gala Awards on June 20, 2011 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

About the Computerworld Honors Program
Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Additional information about the program and a Global Archive of past Laureate case studies and oral histories of Leadership Award recipients can be found at the Computerworld Honors website (

About Computerworld
Computerworld is a leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers worldwide, providing peer perspective, IT leadership and business results. Computerworld's award-winning Web site (, bi-weekly publication, focused conference series and custom research forms the hub of the world's largest (40+ edition) global IT media network. In the past five years alone, Computerworld has won more than 100 awards, including Magazine of the Year by American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards in 2010, the 2009 Best Blog from the Neal awards, and 2006 Best Overall Web Publication from ASBPE. Computerworld leads the industry with an online audience of over 3.5 million unique, monthly visitors (comScore Media Metrix, August 2010). Computerworld is published by IDG Enterprise, a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading media, events, and research company. Company information is available at

About St. Michael's Hospital
St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who walk through its doors. The Hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research at St. Michael's Hospital is recognized and put into practice around the world. Founded in 1892, the Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. More information is available at

About ESRI Canada
Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from ESRI, Telvent, Cityworks and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the top 250 Canadian IT companies and top 25 IT professional services providers in Canada by the Branham Group. Information about ESRI Canada can be found at

Posted May 5, 2011