Research Fellow @ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Resident Physician @ Mount Sinai Hospital

Rapid crowdsourced innovation for COVID-19 response and economic growth

Khalil B. Ramadi, Freddy T. Nguyen. npj Digital Medicine 2021-02-09

Full Text
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected life worldwide. Governments have been faced with the formidable task of implementing public health measures, such as social distancing, quarantines, and lockdowns, while simultaneously supporting a sluggish economy and stimulating research and development (R&D) for the pandemic. Catalyzing bottom-up entrepreneurship is one method to achieve this. Home-grown efforts by citizens wishing to contribute their time and resources to help have sprouted organically, with ideas shared widely on the internet. We outline a framework for structured, crowdsourced innovation that facilitates collaboration to tackle real, contextualized problems. This is exemplified by a series of virtual hackathon events attracting over 9000 applicants from 142 countries and 49 states. A hackathon is an event that convenes diverse individuals to crowdsource solutions around a core set of predetermined challenges in a limited amount of time. A consortium of over 100 partners from across the healthcare spectrum and beyond defined challenges and supported teams after the event, resulting in the continuation of at least 25% of all teams post-event. Grassroots entrepreneurship can stimulate economic growth while contributing to broader R&D efforts to confront public health emergencies.
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Physician-scientist with extensive experience developing and translating nanotechnologies and biomedical optical technologies from the bench to clinic in areas of genetics, oncology, and cardiovascular diseases. Extensive experience in community building in healthcare innovation, research, medical, and physician-scientist communities through various leadership roles.

Email: freddytn@mit.edu

Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

Research Fellow, MIT Innovation Initiative
Former Co-Director, MIT Hacking Medicine
Regional Director – Europe, MIT Hacking Medicine
Co-Director, MIT COVID-19 Challenge
Co-Director, MIT Hacking Racism Challenge

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Email: freddy.nguyen@mountsinai.org

Resident Physician, PGY-3,
Department of Pathology, Molecular and Cell-Based Medicine

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai Hospital
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1194
New York, NY 10029