County of Marin - News Releases - Hack4Health

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2017

Prizes Await Young Civic-Minded Students

Registration open for Hack4Health in San Rafael on April 1

San Rafael, CA – Dozens of students have registered for the County of Marin’s first hackathon, and openings remain for the April 1 special event in San Rafael.

The County’s tech team and public health departments created Hack4Health for students to help devise technical solutions to some of the health challenges facing residents of Marin. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students from all over the Bay Area are invited to sign up and become eligible to win prizes ranging from $500 to $2,000.

Logo that says Hack4HealthThe event is April at the Marin County Office of Education in Terra Linda.
The event, taking place at the Marin County Office of Education in Terra Linda, is set up to engage young people to help solve problems they see in their communities based on data provided by the Marin County Department of Information Services and Technology (IST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Marin consistently ranks among the healthiest counties in the state and nation, but some residents aren't doing as well as others. Income, cultural and social barriers can lead to poor health for some residents. Recently collected raw data posted on Marin County Open Data will serve as fodder for our young coders and creative thinkers.

“This is open to all students interested in the subject of health, not just tech savvy ones,” said Wesley Hill, IST Principal Systems Analyst. “Young people without any coding experience will be able to contribute just as much as the ones who know how to create an app from scratch.”

A hackathon is generally a gathering of civic-minded residents who get together and work on creating an innovative solution in a short period of time, hacking in marathon fashion. Lots of municipalities and government agencies have adopted the hackathon concept to encourage its youth and community to participate in localized problem solving and learn more about what local government is doing for its residents.

Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, who helped develop the Hack4Health concept, said he is excited about the chance for the County to play a unique role in support of local schools and students.

“It’s exciting any time that the County is able to support our excellent local schools by adding value – in this case providing a unique and innovative opportunity for Bay Area students,” Connolly said. “Promoting technology-based learning and coding is all the better to give young people a leg up on future education and career opportunities.”

Hack4Health participants will be let loose with vast stashes of public health data about opioid use, obesity and emergency medical services through the Open Data Portal. There will be prizes in four areas: $2,000 for Best Solution Supporting a Healthier Community, $1,000 for Best Mobile/Web App, $500 for Best Use of Open Data, and $500 for Best Storytelling Through Data Sponsored by LiveStories.

Each entry will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Usefulness — The app or concept will have a positive impact on Marin County residents, businesses or visitors.
  • Usability — The app or concept is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Data — The app or concept leverages Marin County datasets or other information within the county.
  • Originality — The app or concept provides an innovative or creative approach to an idea that hasn't been proposed before.
  • Technology — The app or concept can be used by multiple devices.

For more information on judges’ criteria, check out the rules section at hackathon.marincounty.org.

“They might see these challenges through a different light or know of community issues we aren’t even aware of,” Hill said. “We’d like to put their insight to use in innovative ways to solve a problem for the common good.”

Hack4Health begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 6:30 p.m. at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue. The day of activities includes pitches for projects, the formation of teams, several hours of hacking, presentation before the judges, and the awarding of prizes.

Email questions or offers to hackmarin@marincounty.org.

Contact:

Wesley Hill
Principal Systems Analyst
Information Services and Technology Department

371 Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Suite 100
Novato, CA 94949
(415) 473-7439
Email: Wesley Hill
IST webpage