Winning Projects on Vaccinations and Preventing Pre-Diabetes in Children Honored by CHIDS, Maryland HealthTech Coalition and MdBio Foundation
Anurudh Ganesan from Clarksburg High School in Montgomery County and Junaed Siddiqui, a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland (UMD) were selected as winners of the Maryland Innovate 4 Health Challenge, which took place as part of the Maryland Health IT Conference & Expo yesterday at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. Winners each took home a cash prize totaling more than $5,000. The Challenge was organized by the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, 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.”
The Challenge – which focused on a theme of “Empowering Patients, Providers and Community with Creative plus Usable Solutions” – gave participants the opportunity to develop a solution (set of tools, processes and technologies coupled with a business strategy) that could improve patient and/or population health, program management, and/or reduce costs.
Ganesan, who was mentored by Sheila Weiss, Ph.D., chief science officer and vice president of Research at DrugLogic, Inc., won for the VAXXWAGON, which focuses on innovative vaccine delivery solutions. Siddiqui, who is a student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health at the UMD School of Public Health, was honored for E-Puffin, a mobile app designed to eliminate pre-diabetes in kids by using behavioral economics strategies coupled with a smartphone application and sensors.
The judges in the challenge also named one runner-up each in the high school and college categories. River Hill High School in Howard County – comprised of Madisyn Steinberg, Hafeeza Mughal, Taylor Younkins, Narayani Wagle and Bianca Brade, and mentored by Roxanne Zaghab, director of operations and business development at the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy – developed Farm2Family, which focuses on access to healthy food and nutrition tailored for disease prevention and management. A team from Prince George’s Community College – which included John Harlepas, Anthony Rozario and Melissa Marquez, and was mentored by Lauren Weissbrod, regional business development manager at Synaptic Advisory Partners – showcased SAFI, a novel 3-D printed pediatric oral hygiene device.
Judges for the competition included Adnan Ahmed, president of CNSI; M. Jason Brooke, CEO of Vasoptic Medical, Inc.; P. Kenyon Crowley, Deputy Director of CHIDS; and Brian Gaines, CEO of the MdBio Foundation.
Diamondback sponsor CNSI supported the Challenge. The project also was funded in part by the State of Maryland’s EARN Program, administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
The competition is part of a wider EARN-supported initiative – dubbed “mHealth-focused Health Tech Strategic Industry Partnership (SIP)”– aimed at economic and workforce development in Maryland. This SIP’s programs, with industry partners, target Maryland healthcare workers, IT specialists, transitioning veterans and executives who play various roles important to fostering Maryland’s health technology ecosystem.