Move disease prevention forward at June hackathon

May 11, 2016  //  FOUND IN: News

When you hear the word “hacking”, you might think of nefarious computer activity by shady characters. But that term has been hijacked by people looking to do good in the world by putting their skills and knowledge together to make something new – often in marathon innovation sessions called “hackathons.”

Hackathons focus on bringing teams of volunteers together to make new gadgets, websites or apps, or brainstorming prototypes or business models, based on a specific need or opportunity. Often, there’s a prize at the end for the best ideas, to help fuel them to move to the next level of development.

And on June 24-26, Ann Arbor’s first-ever hackathon focused on health will take place, with a specific goal of spurring innovation in any area of disease prevention.

Organized by a new non-profit group, A2 Health Hacks, and co-sponsored by the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, the event is seeking participants at several levels.

Especially needed from U-M are students, trainees, faculty members, staff members and alumni in health and engineering/programming/design fields who have an interest in moving things forward on any area of disease prevention.

The event will be held at Palmer Commons, and space is limited. All participants must register in advance via the application on this website. 

 Apply by May 20 for the first round; you’ll know by May 27 if your application has been accepted.

Want to learn more before registering? Visit the website or attend the A2 Health Hacks Happy Hour on May 25.

June 24’s evening session will include opening remarks and networking, and the hackathon begins in earnest on Saturday morning, with final judging starting in mid-morning on Sunday. And yes, the hacking can go late into the night.

Faculty, advanced-practice clinicians and higher-level trainees are needed as mentors for hackathon teams, and judges for the final presentations. Time commitments can vary; contact organizers for details.

If you have a specific idea for something that a hackathon team could produce to help your patients or your research project, this is an opportunity to bring it forward, “pitch” it in 30 seconds, and work with anyone who volunteers to hack it with you.

The hackathon will use a broad definition of disease prevention products and services, and includes ways of improving access to care. This includes:

  • health information
  • education of patients and caregivers
  • policy and social engineering
  • personal and surgical hygiene
  • family planning
  • wellness
  • diagnostics
  • vaccines
  • drug adherence

Other sponsors of A2 Health Hacks include the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor SPARK, Inovo, LLamasoft and Game Start.