Worcester State Students Break Health Access Barriers at Hackathon

January 14, 2020
By: Guest Contributor

Sixty-five students from nine local colleges and university gathered together to help solve some of the region’s most pressing health access concerns at UMass Medical School’s first-of-its kind WooHealth Hackathon on November 15 and 16, 2019. Worcester State sent 10 students from three departments—nursing, occupational health, and communication sciences and disorders—to participate in the event.

Developed by UMass Medical School and the Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester, the hackathon was modeled on competitions first popularized in the technology industry. In those events, participants work on projects in small groups with the goal of solving a problem or creating a functional product in a limited timeframe. Improving physical access to healthcare became the focus of the hackathon after Worcester Division of Public Health’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) identified the issue as one of the most pressing facing culturally diverse, low-income patients in the Greater Worcester area today.

Local advocates, experts, leaders in urban planning, transportation, health care, and technology were onsite to support students as they explored the scope and complexity of physical access to health care.

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