Hatching Health: interdisciplinary student-led event aims to unscramble healthcare challenges

The idea is simple: bring brilliant people with different perspectives together to tackle challenges in healthcare.

When Ameen Amanian and Daniel Raff (MD 2018) participated in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) GrandHacks event, they knew they needed to bring something similar to UBC. At the weekend-long hackathon, more than 400 bright minds came together to problem-solve various health challenges. Both young students were inspired by the interdisciplinary, real world solutions, which were developed in such a short time frame.

Hatching Health, taking place on March 11th-13th at UBC, is Amanian and Raff’s version of what they experienced at MIT. We caught up with the duo recently to discuss the event and what their hopes are for it.

What is Hatching Health?

Our idea is simple: bring brilliant people with different perspectives together to tackle challenges in healthcare. Far too often those facing these challenges are not connected with the expertise and resources to find (or hatch!) creative solutions. We aim to build an agile community of innovators to identify and solve technical problems in healthcare. Participants will have interdisciplinary backgrounds including engineering, healthcare and design.

We want participants to come with healthcare problems they have identified and then form teams to formulate and devise a solution by the end of the weekend. With access to networking opportunities, expert mentors, great facilities, 3D printers and other prototyping supplies, these interdisciplinary teams will have the opportunity to ‘hatch’ a healthcare solution.

Ameen Amanian (L) and Daniel Raff (R) two of the creators of UBC's Hatching Health event.

Ameen Amanian (L) and Daniel Raff (R) two of the creators of UBC’s Hatching Health event.

We don’t expect participants to have a fully viable product by the end of the weekend, but we hope to have helped bring the right people with the right ideas together. In the longer term, we see this platform as planting a seed for future solutions that can be applied in healthcare.

What inspired you to organize this event?

Following one of our gross anatomy labs, we began talking about the application of technology in healthcare and how we believe novel designs such as apps and medical devices will revolutionize healthcare on a day to day basis.

We had heard of a healthcare ‘hackathon’ taking place at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and decided to participate. At this weekend event, more than 400 of the brightest minds in healthcare (ranging from engineers to clinicians) came together to create viable healthcare solutions over the weekend. We were inspired by the real world solutions that were developed. For example, an oncologist formed a multidisciplinary team that developed an app to track and engage her patients. She planned on using it in her practice the following Monday.

We decided to bring this excitement and innovation to Vancouver and British Columbia. It’s been incredible how supportive the local healthcare and tech sectors have been in organizing Hatching Health.

Who is this event for?

This event is for two groups – our participants and our mentors. Our 75 participants will include learners and professionals from healthcare, engineering and design. Participants from healthcare will largely be learners (however, professionals are welcome) from nursing, occupational therapy, medicine and other disciplines. Within medicine we are hoping to engage current MDUP students from years 1-4 as well as residents, and any practicing doctors who are interested. Outside of healthcare, participants will include all ranges of engineers, from electrical to mechanical, and design students ranging from graphic design to product design.

Within healthcare, our mentors will include experienced clinicians and other healthcare professionals. In addition, there will be experienced medical and tech entrepreneurs, engineers and designers, and representation from local healthcare start-ups.

What are you hoping attendees take away from the event?

We hope to create an agile and cohesive community that is passionate about one thing: solving healthcare challenges. By the end of the weekend, we hope that participants will leave just as inspired as when we left MIT’s GrandHacks event.

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aboutusFor more information on Hatching Health, visit www.hatchinghealth.ca. Applications have recently opened and the deadline is February 26th. Contact hatchinghealth@gmail.com with any questions