Thursday, September 8, 2016

Kentucky's first Health Hack-A-Thon, via SOAR, will brainstorm to find solutions to Eastern Kentucky's health challenges

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Registration is now open for the Appalachian Health Hack-A-Thon, an action-oriented event designed to create new solutions to the health challenges in Eastern Kentucky.

"A Hack-A-Thon is an event in which people with different backgrounds and expertise form teams, collaborate within a limited time frame, and focus on a specific problem or idea in health care to come up with innovative, disruptive ideas and solutions," says the website. "By bringing together diverse minds alike in their interest for solving healthcare’s biggest challenges, problems can be diagnosed from multiple different perspectives."

The event will be held Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 6-8 at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

Thursday's events include a series of "high-energy presentations" and is the only day that is open to the public.

Keynote speakers at the event include U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset, chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and Dr. Douglas R. Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute.

Teams will be formed on Friday after all of the problems have been pitched. These teams will be charged to create and develop innovative solutions to health problems in the region, with a focus on substance abuse, obesity and diabetes.

The teams will present their ideas on Saturday and a judge will the select winners, who will be recognized with prize money and special recognition.

The event needs both participants and mentors to apply. The website notes that eligible participants include: medical professionals, engineers, designers, business people, entrepreneurs, and students. While the event is free to participants, you must apply and be accepted to attend.

The website also describes specific attributes it is looking for in those who apply to be mentors, including someone who is "engaging and helpful, avoids tearing down teams ideas in a destructive way, and instead directs conversations in a constructive way."

The event is sponsored by Shaping Our Appalachian Region and MIT Hacking Medicine. Click here for more information or call Jenna Meyer at 606-766-1160.

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