January 31, 2018
Disease outbreaks. Medical discoveries. Natural disasters. The hope — and hype — that can come with new treatment options.
Sanjay Gupta has covered them all in his years as medical correspondent for CNN. He's seen over and over the crucial role of communication in responding to the health effects of every kind of crisis.
He's also seen the delays, missed opportunities and even tragedy that can come from poor communication of health information.
That's why he and his wife, Rebecca, have teamed up with his alma mater, the University of Michigan, to support an effort to bring new ideas and tools to health communication.
The new effort will kick off with an all-weekend "hackathon" of rapid innovation March 23-25. The marathon event will bring together bright minds from the worlds of health, digital technology, design, communication and information science on the U-M campus, and will include students from U-M and other universities.
Students and professionals who can commit to participating in the entire weekend may get more information and apply for a spot in the hackathon at guptahacks.org.
It's a fitting location, and not just because of the Guptas' connection to the university. U-M experts treat patients with the rarest conditions, develop and test new treatments and diagnostics, study the causes and effects of health crises, evaluate what's working and what's not in modern health care and health policy, and work with local, national and global organizations on a wide range of health issues.
Working in newly formed teams, the participants accepted to the Gupta Family Hackathon will hack, or rapidly develop, new potential solutions to specific problems in health communication.
For instance, the teams may create new web- and mobile-based tools designed to address a specific need. Or they might find new ways to harness communication channels to ensure the effective spread of important and accurate health information.
They'll do it with the inspiration and guidance of experts from U-M, industry and community organizations taking part in the event.
Teams will present their prototypes for judging on the final afternoon, competing for a chance to develop their ideas further with the help of U-M mentors. All participants will retain the right to develop their ideas after the event.
Organized by U-M's Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation and Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center, the event is supported by a gift from the Guptas.