Reviewing the Innovate 4 Health Winners

Winning projects have addressed vaccine delivery, children’s diabetes and postnatal care through a pair of Innovate 4 Health Challenges, organized in 2012 and 2015 by the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The 2012 competition at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C., drew teams from universities nationwide. It was won by a Stanford University team’s Facebook-like platform to better-engage families in postnatal care. The 2015 edition, on June 4 in Annapolis, involved Maryland-only high school and college student competitors (Read more here).

The 2015 winners:  Clarksburg High School student Anurudh Ganesan’s “VAXXWAGON,” was judged as the top high school competitor for an innovative vaccine delivery solution. Separately, in the collegiate division, Junaed Siddiqui, a student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at the UMD School of Public Health, won for his “E-Puffin,” a mobile app designed to eliminate pre-diabetes in kids by using behavioral economics strategies coupled with a smartphone application and sensors.

EARN Maryland, a statewide workforce training initiative, supported the challenge as did CHIDS’ partners:  the Maryland Health Tech Coalition, Howard Community College and MdBio Foundation, Inc. “The level of competition and creativity that these teams displayed was inspiring,” said Brian Gaines, CEO of the MdBio Foundation. “It’s marvelous when students can bring a fresh perspective and innovative thinking to address a national or global health challenge. When considering the effort and serious consideration of health issues that went into these projects, the future indeed looks bright.”

In 2012, “NeoStream” captured the top-prize. The social media platform to improve outcomes for sick babies by better engaging parents in their care was developed and presented by graduate students in the Biomedical Informatics Department in Stanford’s School of Medicine (Read more hereWatch video highlights).

Smith School Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research Ritu Agarwal says the competitions have epitomized CHIDS’ tripartite mission of research, education and outreach. “The competitors have worked very hard and energetically on the incredibly important problems of fixing health care and reducing health care costs,” she says. “They spent a lot of time developing new ideas and figuring out whether these are monetizable solutions. We believe entrepreneurship and innovation from young minds is the way forward."