Pub­lic health meets so­cial me­dia

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers Asides & Insides -

The In­sti­tute of Medicine and Na­tional Academy of En­gi­neer­ing are try­ing to tap into the mag­i­cal fairy dust of so­cial me­dia to try to im­prove the pub­lic’s health.

The two gov­ern­ment groups are of­fer­ing a to­tal of $6,000 to col­lege stu­dents in a con­test to cre­ate a Web or mo­bile phone ve­hi­cle that uses ex­tremely fast tech­nol­ogy-driven in­ter­ac­tion—if only there were a buzz­word de­scrib­ing that—to im­prove the pub­lic’s health.

The con­test, called the Go Vi­ral to Im­prove Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Col­le­giate Chal­lenge, of­fers a $3,000 first prize, $2,000 sec­ond prize and $1,000 third prize to the teams of stu­dents that best har­ness tech­nol­ogy and data to solve “vex­ing health is­sues,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

The chal­lenge calls on col­lege stu­dents in “en­gi­neer­ing, com­puter science and health dis­ci­plines to work in in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary teams to transform health data into new mo­bile apps, on­line tools or games, or other in­no­va­tive prod­ucts that can im­prove health at the com­mu­nity level,” the re­lease states.

While the prize money may not be enough to draw the in­ter­est of the next Mark Zucker­berg, it sure would buy a lot of video games, ra­men noo­dles and beer.

Sure he helped cre­ate Face­book, but could Zucker­berg im­prove pub­lic health?

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