Challenge America Connects with Medical Innovators in Cleveland


As part of our budding partnership to explore ways of addressing the needs of injured veterans, Cleveland Clinic Innovations invited Challenge America staff members to take part in two exciting events in October. Maggie Tolan, Director of Research and Development, spent the weekend at the 2018 Cleveland Medical Hackathon. The Cleveland Medical Hackathon—now in its fourth year— brings innovation to healthcare, gathering developers, designers, engineers, researchers, and community members for an all-night session of exploring and creating IT solutions for specific healthcare issues.

This year’s competition asked participants to address the management of chronic illnesses. In response, teams developed solutions that included an Uber-style caretaker service for the elderly and a robotic raft for measuring water quality. The winners creatively applied Artificial Intelligence to encourage early detection of risk of Post-Partum Depression. The issue to be addressed was announced at the Hackathon’s opening,  solutions were unique and not created prior to the Hackathon’s start.

In addition to observing this energetic event, Maggie was invited to shadow the organizers of the Hackathon. This gave her the opportunity to learn best practices and compare notes as we prepare to launch our own hackathon-style event in Cleveland next spring, Challenge America: Makers for Veterans (CAMVETS). This event will also bring together teams of experts for a three-day marathon of making (a make-a-thon!) to create innovative solutions for specific challenges that veteran participants are facing. Learn more about this exciting pilot program here!

Maggie was joined in Cleveland by Director of Development and Communications, Kimberly Goodrich, who attended  the 16th annual Medical Innovation Summit hosted by Cleveland Clinic Innovations. Home to over 700 bioscience companies, Cleveland is a perfect place to host a conference that brings thought leaders together to learn, network and explore new ideas while celebrating recently created innovations in the healthcare space.

Participants included representatives from  biotech, pharmaceutical, insurance, finance, and IT industries who attended educational workshops and strategy sessions on healthcare models that deliver results for patients by improving efficiency  in the areas of delivery of services, patient-provider communications, and reimbursement. Kimberly had the opportunity to connect with thought leaders and spark their interest in partnering with the CAMVETS program to create innovative solutions by participating in the event as experts, bringing viable products to market, or providing financial support.  

Challenge America is working with these new partners, channeling innovative minds and resources to address challenges that our veterans are facing in their daily lives; innovation at its best.

If you have any questions about CAMVETS or partnerships, please contact Maggie Tolan:

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