College & University Students to Take Health Data Viral – to Improve Health!

Guest post by Liz Rockett, a member of the Health 2.0 team.

Not everything that goes viral improves health…  but here at Health 2.0, we’re excited about one thing that will.  The newest addition to the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge portfolio is the Go Viral to Improve Health: IOM-NAE Health Data Collegiate Challenge. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) are sponsoring this challenge for college and university teams.

The Go Viral Collegiate Challenge is looking for college and university students to self-organize into multidisciplinary teams (engineering and medical students for example) and identify a significant health problem facing their local communities, on or off campus.  Teams must then create a web or mobile app to increase awareness and inspire positive action to address that issue.  IOM and NAE are looking for solutions that leverage social networks so educational messages can be communicated quickly across a large community and so that positive actions by individuals can influence others to take similar steps – hence the name Go Viral!

We’re particularly excited to see how these apps will incorporate health data – especially from the newly-launched Health Indicators Warehouse.  The possible sources of health data to fuel these apps are piling up, thanks to the and initiatives.  At the least, teams must integrate data from the Health Indicators Warehouse.  More suggestions of amazing and free datasets are available on the challenge page.

Worth noting – the top three winning teams will be recognized and featured exhibits at the forum of the Health Data Initiative on June 9, which pulls leaders from tech, government, non-profit, and investing communities to see what’s next in the innovative use of data for health.  In addition, the first prize team will be awarded $3,000 and an on-stage live demo of their application. Second and third place will win $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

The Go Viral Collegiate Challenge is part of several initiatives to free data and bring innovation to healthcare. The IOM is a driving force behind the Health Data Initiative – a movement that fosters the release and use of government data sets to improve health and wellness in communities. The Health Data Initiative was officially announced in June 2010, shortly after the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge was launched, in collaboration with Health and Human Services. The Health 2.0 Developer Challenge allows anyone interested in health care issues to sponsor a challenge or create an app to address a sponsored challenges.

Teams have just 10 weeks to get cooking: submissions for the Go Viral Collegiate Challenge are due April 27, 2011. The clock is ticking!


Liz Rockett is a member of the Health 2.0 team, leading the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge initiative.  Health 2.0’s Developer Challenge brings innovation in technology to healthcare’s biggest challenges.  Prior to joining the Health 2.0 team, Liz was a product manager for software-based healthcare improvement programs at the Advisory Board Company and at Outcome, a healthcare data analytics firm. 

While completing her MBA and Masters of Public Health, Liz worked in strategy for Kaiser Permanente’s medical group and The Trizetto Group’s value-based insurance practice, and advised several Health 2.0 startups. Her MBA/MPH is from University of California, Berkeley, and bachelor of arts is from Princeton University.  You can find her @liz_rockett on twitter and follow the Health 2.0 team’s work to spark innovation at #health2dev and

3 Responses to “College & University Students to Take Health Data Viral – to Improve Health!”


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