2022 CTSC Health Hackathon scheduled for March 25-27: UNM Newsroom
Engineers, scientists, inventors and creators who have a passion for developing healthcare solutions and an entrepreneurial spirit are encouraged to participate in the Clinical and Transitional Sciences Center (CTSC) Health Hackathon 2022scheduled at the University of New Mexico in March.
The weekend-long event, to be held at the Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education North Wing, 1001 Stanford Drive NE, Albuquerque, will take place March 25-27. Registration is Open. Proof of vaccination will be required and the event will follow public health orders, which currently require the wearing of masks. The event is planned in person, but organizers say the event could move to virtual if conditions warrant.
During the three-day event, teams of five to eight participants will present complex health issues and then strategize to develop new solutions. Materials will be provided, including computers, microprocessors (Arduino and Raspberry Pi devices), 3D printers, and various art supplies for modeling. Those with a variety of backgrounds, including business, medical, coding, engineering, entrepreneurship, programming, science, and design, are encouraged to apply.
The ultimate goal of the Health Hackathon is to design and develop unique, marketable solutions that address pressing health challenges, said Christina Salas, associate professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation.
“This is an intense yet fun event that gives students a great experience in the process of thinking about design and working as a team to bring a marketable idea to life,” she said. “It’s always fascinating to see all the amazing ideas that are being competed across so many disciplines while providing students with real-life biodesign experience.”
Participants include undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and community members. Participants do not need to have a team to participate. At the event, participants without a team will have the opportunity to form teams based on skills and interests, Salas said.
After formulating their technology, teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on the final day, competing for a chance to apply for National Institutes of Health pilot grants of up to $10,000 to help bring their ideas to life in the form commercialization of technology. . In order to apply for a grant, each team must have a faculty member from the UNM Health Sciences Center on the proposal.
This is the third Hackathon of what is designed to be an annual event (there was no event in 2021 due to the pandemic). The last time the event took place, in 2020, seven teams (over 80 participants in total) registered. Winning ideas included a smart asthma inhaler that attaches to a traditional spacer to provide the patient with improved medication based on the spacing between multiple puffs and a software system that uses QR codes to help visitors navigate In a hospital. Learn more about the 2020 winners here.
In addition to CTSC, Hackathon is sponsored by ASCEND HUB, UNM Rainforest Innovations, School of Engineering, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and Anderson School of Management.
New this year is a Hackathon Jumpstart event, taking place from 5:30-7 p.m. on February 23 at UNM Rainforest Innovations. The event will provide information about the Hackathon, both for those who have registered for the event or are planning to register. The workshop will provide information on the design thinking process, presented by Nancy Lewis, director of The Canopy for Creative Collaboration at UNM Innovation Academy, as well as information on pitching business ideas. It is not mandatory for Hackathon participants to attend the Jumpstart event, but it is highly recommended. Registration is open on this link. Refreshments will be provided, and proof of vaccination and masks will be required. As with the Hackathon, the event may go virtual depending on public health orders at the time.
For more information about Hackathon or Jumpstart events, contact Melanie Hazlett at CTSC at [email protected]
The Health Hackathon is one of many collaborative initiatives between the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering. Salas, who is also special assistant to the dean of the School of Engineering for Health Science Center relations, has been teaching a graduate-level biodesign course since 2016 modeled after a similar curriculum at Stanford University. The course is jointly administered by the two schools and requires students to learn about real clinical challenges and develop technology to meet them. Salas also runs an annual biodesign competition, jointly sponsored by the School of Engineering and CTSC, in which winning teams compete for $50,000 in funding to develop and commercialize their technology.
Another collaborative effort between the two schools is Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering with a Concentration in Medical Physics. The program is administered by the Department of Nuclear Engineering, with support from the Department of Radiology and the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.