Olga Brazhnik, a program director and computer scientist in the Division of Clinical Innovation, provides programmatic direction and management for Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hubs, Collaborative Innovation Awards, and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. She serves as the NCATS lead on the national CTSA Program Collaboration and Engagement Enterprise Committee, which connects experts in community engagement, collaboration and team science across all CTSA hubs nationwide. She also chairs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health and Wellness Council and represents NCATS on the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC) and NIH Citizen Science group.
During her tenure at NCATS and since the Center’s inception in 2011, Brazhnik initially led the SBIR/STTR programs, ensuring that funding was invested in worthy translational projects before the Center had any applications of its own. Nurturing innovation at NCATS and bridging it with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-wide initiatives from 2017 to 2019, Brazhnik has successfully completed three distinct projects in the highly competitive HHS Ignite Accelerator program for creative public sector innovators. For one of these projects, she led a trans-NIH team that studied the relationship between health and happiness, along with personal motivations for sustainable lifestyle changes to protect and improve human health.
Since joining NIH in 2004, Brazhnik has facilitated the adoption of innovative solutions in collaborative technologies, health informatics, data and knowledge integration, modeling, and visualization. In 2006, when Wikipedia was in its infancy, she introduced NIH to the process of co-creating collective intelligence through collaborative wiki technology by organizing Wiki Fair, initiating the first trans-NIH wiki, and developing and teaching classes on wiki technology. In 2011, in collaboration with HHS and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Brazhnik led a trans-NIH initiative that laid a foundation for the broad adoption of crowdsourcing and citizen science at NIH by organizing Crowdsourcing: The Art and Science of Open Innovation.
A recipient of numerous NIH Merit Awards, Brazhnik also was recognized by the Office of Personnel Management for coaching and teaching in government-wide Federal Internal Coach Training and Presidential Management Fellow Leadership Development programs.
Prior to joining NIH, Brazhnik developed theoretical and computational models, conducted computer simulations, designed bio- and clinical informatics solutions in academia and in the public and private sectors, and served as the chief database architect on surveillance and clinical data integration projects for the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General’s Office.
Brazhnik holds a doctorate in physics from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia.
Brazhnik’s professional path has spanned a broad spectrum of disciplines, from physics and computer science to transformative leadership and human potential. She is committed to empowering individuals and communities to thrive in health and wellness by developing innovation, human potential, collective intelligence, and trustworthy collaboration and engagement practices.