Population Health

December 1, 2021

Digital health innovation workshop tackles population health challenges

Image of a panel discussion during the workshopIdeas turned into hands-on experience for students at a brand-new workshop focusing on improving the health of people around the world through digital innovations. Twenty-seven students from different disciplines came together on November 11, 2021 for an immersive experience hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Population Health Initiative at the University of Washington.

Participating students generated ideas, analyzed best practices in digital innovation and pitched to stakeholders and influential members of the healthcare field. Notable innovations included a customized breast pump shield to prevent mastitis and other breast-feeding related diseases, a smart pill provider to increase medication adherence among older adults and a comprehensive app that tracks insulin and other data for diabetes patients and their healthcare providers.

Image of a presentation during the workshop“Our goal for the workshop was to bring in students with different backgrounds and experiences to tackle some of these large, grand challenges in healthcare, and it was both inspiring and energizing to hear such innovative solutions being pitched by teams that had just met,” said organizer Jessica Roberto, the assistant director of graduate programs at the Buerk Center and the manager of the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) student competition.

Students who developed and presented their innovations now have the opportunity to further work on their ideas with support from the Population Health Initiative and Buerk Center. These innovations can also be submitted to the 2022 HIC and other Buerk Center competitions to receive additional feedback and continue to advance their project ideas.

The 2021 Sacia Digital Health Innovation Workshop is the first in a planned annual series for students. The workshop is an example of the types of events the Population Health Initiative is hosting in the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health with the intent of fostering a space that catalyzes interdisciplinary collaboration to take on major population health-related challenges.

“We’re delighted to have been able to partner with the Buerk Center to convene such an impressive group of students who were seeking entrepreneurial approaches to improve population health,” shared Arti Shah, the Population Health Initiative’s assistant director for strategic engagement. “Their collective work underscores the importance of having a range of disciplines at the table when seeking to make major advances in health and well-being.”

Please contact Arti Shah via email at artishah@uw.edu if you are interested in partnering with the Population Health Initiative to host a workshop or convening.