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Wide Field: Hacking COVID-19 Solutions for Africa

Host Vivian Kobusingye Birchall chatted with Stuart Krusell, Senior Director of Global Programs at MIT Sloan School of Management; Ari Jacobovits, Managing Director for Africa, MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives; postdoctoral fellow Freddy Nguyen and MBA candidates Benjamin Boutboul and Mercy Ndambuki, about the recently concluded MIT COVID-19 Challenge including solutions created and different ways industry, the public sector innovators and development partners can get involved.

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MIT COVID-19 Challenge – Beat The Pandemic

1500 participants and 250 mentors from around the world came together from April 3 – 5 to help tackle some of the most pressing issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 48 hours, 199 potential solutions were developed virtually. See how the 2nd event in the MIT COVID-19 Challenge came together!

How a Few MIT Students Produced One of the Best Hackathons on Covid-19
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How a Few MIT Students Produced One of the Best Hackathons on Covid-19

True Africa – Claude Grunitzky – May 04, 2020

42% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $1.90 a day. As the pandemic slowly progresses throughout the continent, with most of the 35,000+ Covid-19 cases concentrated in North Africa and South Africa, a group of MIT students decided to host an “Africa Takes on Covid-19” challenge last weekend. It was the third in a series of MIT-led hackathons designed to create solutions to address critical needs during the Covid-19 crisis.

More than 200 participating teams were selected though the https://covid19challenge.mit.edu application website, with collectives from around the world—drawing from universities, industry, government, and NGOs, among others—volunteering to help create tech driven solutions to address the most critical unmet needs caused by the Covid-19 outbreak across the continent.

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MIT Club of Northern California | COVID 19 Front Lines Situation and Response

During this time, we’ve found that the MIT Alumni community coming together, and there is no one more that we’d love to hear from than our very own making a Better World.

“MIT Alumni Front Lines” series brings forward amazing members of the MIT community who are doing some excellent work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our first guest is Freddy Nguyen – PGY1 (resident) resident physician in the department of pathology and molecular and cell-based medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.  He is co-leading the MIT COVID-19 challenge a series of virtual hackathons and prior to that he was the co-director for MIT Hacking Medicine.

Ask Freddy about – what the the siutation is on the ground in NY, the motivation around the MIT COVID-19 Challenge – series of hackathon and what makes these MIT hackathons unique and relevant, and more…

MIT and VA Partner for COVID-19 Hackathon: Finding solutions through collaboration and innovation
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MIT and VA Partner for COVID-19 Hackathon: Finding solutions through collaboration and innovation

Veterans Health Adminstration – Matthew Razak – April 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic requires innovative thinking and problem solving right now. Hackathons are a powerful tool to address these challenges. Earlier this month, VA partnered with MIT and a host of other organizations to put on the MIT COVID-19 Challenge “Beat the Pandemic” Hackathon.

Over 1,400 innovators – leaders in academia, industry and healthcare – came together virtually to develop, design, and solve the most pressing problems facing both vulnerable populations and the health care systems taking care of them.

Powerful display of collaboration and innovation

Winning solutions included:
– a telehealth platform that can help monitor COVID-19 patients in their home self-assessment triaging for patients at home
– a way for multiple patients to use a single ventilator
– a platform that connects those in quarantine with livestreams across the country
– a platform that delivers the latest innovations and medical advice to help hospitals navigate the crisis
– a method for disseminating COVID-19 information to rural clinicians more rapidly

“It was a powerful display of incredible collaboration and innovation in the collective fight against a common enemy. I left the weekend with a newfound hope in our ability to not just help the Veterans we serve but beat the pandemic entirely,” said Suzanne Shirley, VHA Director of Partnerships & Community Engagement.

Pursuing User Research When Everyone’s in Quarantine
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Pursuing User Research When Everyone’s in Quarantine

Timothy Berendt, Contributing Columnist and former Director of Innovation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass. April 21, 2020

Many innovators are struggling with a big question right now: How do you maintain the quality and breadth of your user research when it seems the whole world is under house arrest due to coronavirus? We all know that the innovation and design world rely on interactions with customers and users, through activities like empathy, anthropology, focus groups, and testing. So how do you preserve that input into your process when everybody is locked down?

It’s an ideal moment for getting your team to embrace new tools and approaches. A few examples…

Video

MIT’s COVID-19 Challenge ‘Beat the Pandemic’ Virtual Hackathon

At the beginning of April BCGDV partnered with MIT on their virtual hackathon series ‘Beat the Pandemic’ as part of their COVID-19 challenge. DV’ers from all over the world took part in the 48 hour virtual hackathon that aimed to tackle the most critical problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Co-Director of the ‘COVID-19 Challenge’, Freddy Nguyen, sat down (remotely) with BCGDV Partner, Nate Beyor after the event. They discussed the origin story of the hackathon series and Freddy explained how he mobilized 4500 brilliant minds from 96 countries to apply to take part. They also touch on how this global crisis has accelerated innovation at an incredible speed and examine how some of these changes may play a part long after this crisis has ended.

Wall Street Journal: Hackathons Target Coronavirus: Participants tackle global problems from the shortage of ventilators to how to enforce social distancing
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Wall Street Journal: Hackathons Target Coronavirus: Participants tackle global problems from the shortage of ventilators to how to enforce social distancing

Wall Street Journal – Agam Shah – April 9, 2020

Thousands of technology enthusiasts and others are flocking to a new wave of hackathons created to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The low-sleep, high-octane sessions have attracted participants world-wide to team up online and suggest solutions to problems such as the equipment shortage for health providers or a better way to track the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

“Everyone is looking at the urgency of the situation,” said Youseph Yazdi, executive director at Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design, which organized a five-day hackathon in the last week of March that attracted 513 teams with 2.331 applicants from 34 countries.

That hackathon was around thematic areas including how to communicate effectively about Covid-19, prevention of transmission within communities and health-care equipment shortages.