Heart Failure Data Challenge

The American Heart Association and the Association of Black Cardiologists are collaborators in strategic initiatives to advance health equity and ensure all Americans have an opportunity for a full, healthy life. These associations have come together to host a data challenge to encourage cross collaboration among researchers to deepen understanding of the impact around the social and structural determinants of health on heart failure. The data challenge is specifically focused on testing the relationships between heart failure and health disparities, social determinants of health and structural determinants of health.

  • Health disparities include environmental threats, individual and behavioral factors, inadequate access to health care, poverty, and educational inequalities.
  • Social determinants of health include resources such as food supply, housing, economic and social relationships, education and health care.
  • Structural determinants of health include economic, governing and social policies that affect pay, working conditions, housing and education.

Challenge participants are asked to address targeted research questions (below) related to heart failure and social/structural determinants of health.  Teams are encouraged to leverage the Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG) - Heart Failure registry data as well as generalizable data and other publicly available datasets. All data must be de-identified.

Each challenge participant will be provided a free, Precision Medicine Platform workspace to conduct all analyses. Use of the workspace for entry and submission of the application is mandatory for security. All workspaces are HIPPA compliant and FedRAMP low certified.


Starts: March 16, 2021
Ends: September 16, 2021


Participants must address one of the following three questions. If participants wish to address more than one question, each question must be submitted as a separate application in a separate Precision Medicine Platform workspace.

  1. Evaluate the impact of certain social and/or structural determinants of health on incident heart failure risk according to race and ethnicity.
  2. Evaluate the impact of certain social and or structural determinants of health on the influence of outpatient care related to admission among HFrEF (EF< 40%) patients .
  3. Evaluate the impact of social and/or structural determinants of health on hospital length of stay among heart failure patients according to race and ethnicity.



Three prizes will be awarded to the top submissions in October 2021. Recipients of the grand, second or third place prize will be required to publish a manuscript detailing the winning solutions and will be subject to the standard proposal review process

Grand prize:  $25,000
Second place:  $10,000
Third place:  $5,000 


Research will be reviewed by a peer review committee that includes experts from both the American Heart Association and Association of Black Cardiologists. Reviewers will evaluate the novel information learned from the analyses that address the focus of the data challenge question. Specifically, the committee will assess the:

  • Findings or results of the data analyses
  • Data and data analyses (methods that support the findings)
  • Novel information learned
  • Overall impact of the findings and analyses on the question’s focus


All participants are required to follow the steps below to receive a workspace. Each team will receive a single shared workspace.

  1. Register to participateThis step must be completed for each individual of the team prior to requesting a workspace. An electronic NDA-DUA form is required to use GWTG data. 
  2. Create a Precision medicine Platform account - Each member of the challenge team is required to create an account. Participants with an existing account can proceed to #3.
  4. Request a workspace - The lead researcher should request the workspace.

Note: It can take up to 48 hours to receive a workspace.


Get With The Guidelines - Heart Failure Data

GWTG-Heart Failure data from 2017-2020 will be available for participants. This data is best used to address questions 2 and 3.

GWTG is the American Heart Association's premier hospital-based quality improvement program designed to close the treatment gap in cardiovascular disease, stroke, and resuscitation. The program offers healthcare providers guideline-driven materials, information, and tools to support hospitals with their quality improvement efforts. The GWTG-Heart Failure registry collects patient-level data elements and evidence-based measures rooted in advancing science. Participants are encouraged to review the Quality Research Library to ensure their research doesn’t overlap existing publications. After reviewing the data elements collected, if researchers have additional questions about the feasibility of their research please contact [email protected].

Additional Data

Linkage or tokenization of any outside dataset with the GWTG data is not permitted.

Participants are encouraged to utilize generalizable datasets that they have access to, as well as publicly available longitudinal community data sets (e.g., Framingham Heart Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, NHANES, CARDIA, Hispanic/SOL, Jackson Heart Study, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study).

Access and approval of publicly available data is the responsibility of the applicant. Helpful links to federally funded data can be found at BioLINCC and dbGAP.


Submission Requirements

The Precision Medicine Platform provides an easy-to-use, web-based user interface that allows participants to access a secure, cloud-based environment. It contains a variety of standard software and packages such as Python and R. The platform workspace leverages Jupyter Notebooks and RStudio to allow users to create notebooks to document and display results.

Each participant must submit a Jupyter notebook from their individual workspace in the Precision Medicine Platform that provides the following:

  • Full name of corresponding applicant and  team members
  • Institution (if applicable)
  • Email address of corresponding applicant
  • Phone number of corresponding applicant
  • A 250-word description of the findings and how they can be applied
  • Description of data analysis and datasets used for establishing, testing, and validating models
  • Figures or tables (if applicable)
  • Summary

Submitting Results/Notebook

Once analyses are complete and the notebook is ready for submission, per the criteria outlined above, follow the steps below to submit the notebook for review. All submissions must be complete by September 16, 2021 at 5p.m. CT.

  1. The submitted notebook should be in HTML format. In Jupyter, follow these steps:
    1. In the File Menu, selecting Download as > HTML (.html). The HTML file will download to a temporary downloads folder
    2. Re-upload the HTML file to the workspace by clicking the upload icon in JupyterLab or clicking the Upload button on the Jupyter Home tab.
  2. In the workspace, save the notebook in the /mnt/workspace/My_Notebooks directory this will sync the notebook with the workspace portal.
  3. The notebook will be listed on the workspace portal page. To the right of the notebook, click the box with the arrow that shows “Share for Grant Application” when you hover over it.
  4. Sharing the notebook creates a static link that will be used by the Heart Failure Data Challenge peer review team.
    Note: Only information in the notebook will be visible to the peer review team. Therefore, it is imperative that you include everything necessary before sharing. If you make changes after sharing, you will have to re-share.
  5. Precision Medicine workspaces will be shut down at 5 p.m. CT on the last day of the data challenge. Data will be saved for a period of time per our standard security policies. Workspaces will be retained for paying customers.