Public Release: 

IOM and NAE launch collegiate challenge aimed at solving health problems

Through creative technology development

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

WASHINGTON -- "Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge" was launched today by the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering to promote interaction among future health professionals, engineers, and scientists and to spur interest in harnessing new technologies and data to solve vexing health issues. The challenge calls on university and college students studying engineering, computer science, and health disciplines to work in interdisciplinary teams to transform health data into new mobile apps, online tools or games, or other innovative products that can improve health at the community level.

The first place team will receive a $3,000 prize and the opportunity to demonstrate their product during the plenary session of the annual Community Health Data Initiative Forum on June 9, 2011. The second and third place teams will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, and both will have the chance to display their winning technologies in the exhibit hall at this national gathering of software engineers, developers, and health leaders. All winning teams will be reimbursed for up to $1,000 of their travel costs to the forum.

Participating teams must develop a web-based or mobile product that tackles a health issue in a creative way and encourages people in a community to interact with one another. The launch of the challenge coincides with the debut of the Health Indicators Warehouse, a vast collection of health data and indicator sets made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Teams must tap this online warehouse to create their interactive technologies. Entries will be judged on how well they integrate health data from the warehouse and other information sources as well as their creativity, design, usability, and potential for the product to make an impact on the health issue selected by the team.

Both undergraduate and graduate students may compete. Teams must consist of a minimum of two and up to five individuals and include at least one member pursuing a degree in engineering or computer science and at least one member pursuing a degree toward a career in any of the health professions. The submission deadline is April 27, 2011. A detailed description of "Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge" can be found at IOM website and NAE website and on Facebook. Questions can be directed to goviral@nas.edu.

"The IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge seeks to tap the creativity and skills of the nation's brightest young minds because we believe they have the ability to harness health data in novel ways that will make a healthy difference to their communities and to the nation as a whole," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg. "This challenge provides a unique chance to showcase the innovation that can result from interdisciplinary collaboration and also an opportunity for students to gain experience and skills that we hope they will carry into their careers."

"The trove of health data made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a wonderful opportunity for creative young people to design the next 'viral app' -- one that can improve personal health and extend lives," said NAE President Charles M. Vest. "'Advancing Health Informatics' was one of 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering identified by the NAE as game-changers in the 21st century, and the interdisciplinary collaboration being encouraged between the fields of engineering and health by this challenge is a key to meeting that goal."

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The Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Engineering along with the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.

Contacts:
Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer, Institute of Medicine
Randy Atkins, Senior Media Relations Officer, National Academy of Engineering
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

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