News

Forbes: How Covid-19 Changed MIT’s Global Hackathon Program And Others For The Better, Forever

Fobes – Michelle Greenwald – September 1, 2021

Engineers often state that constraints foster creativity, and the adage “necessity is the mother of invention” was never more true than after COVID-19 hit.  MIT’s healthcare hackathon program, pioneered by MIT Hacking Medicine, was forced to pivot quickly from 100% in person, to 100% virtual on a global level.  In the process, lessons were learned that can permanently improve hackathon processes in other sectors.

Freddy Nguyen, Former Co-Director of MIT Hacking Medicine, a physician, scientist, bioengineer, physical chemist, and innovator, who works currently with both MIT and Mount Sinai, shared modifications and improvements to the program design and launch of the MIT COVID-19 Challenge in response to COVID constraints, many of which will endure.  Global hackathons across sectors can benefit from his team’s experiments and learnings.

Publication

Rapid crowdsourced innovation for COVID-19 response and economic growth

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.

Video

AI LA Life Summit 2020 | Hackers Without Borders

Artificial Intelligence Los Angeles Community

Learn how socially-conscious technology organizations are galvanizing solutions for multi-faceted challenges facing humanity in a pandemic that has no borders.

Freddy Nguyen, MD, PhD – Co-Director of MIT COVID-19 Challenge
Artur Kiulian Founder, CoronaWhy.org
Ben Treuhaft CO-CEO Helpful Engineering

Moderated by: Wen Dombrowski MD MBA, Cofounder Catalaize

MIT News: 3Q: Addressing structural racism in health care as an innovation opportunity
News

MIT News: 3Q: Addressing structural racism in health care as an innovation opportunity

MIT News – Institute Community and Equity Office (ICEO) – October 9, 2020

Far-reaching effects of structural racism can be seen in all facets of American life. This year, as Americans witnessed widespread demonstrations stemming from racial injustice at the hands of officers in law enforcement, a ground swell of conversations about race and pleas for action emerged.

One area in which racism has had significant effects is health care equity, a fact that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of current events, members of the MIT community involved in the successful hackathons MIT Covid-19 Challenge and MIT Hacking Medicine sought to explore the role of racism embedded in U.S. health care structures. More specifically, how could they tear down racism in health care using proven hackathon methodology traditionally applied to other complex health care problems?