ImpactObesity: University of Miami to Host Hacking Competition to Find Innovative Solutions in Fight Against Obesity

During Impact Obesity, designers, entrepreneurs, programmers, and innovators are invited to join UM students and faculty and healthcare professionals to focus on a community crisis: the obesity epidemic in our diverse community.

Miami, FL, March 16, 2013 --( ImpactObesity

The University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Lift1428, a Miami-based innovation, design, and strategy firm devoted to the healthcare industry, will stage Impact Obesity, a hack-a-thon competition aimed at tackling the issues of obesity, starting at 8 a.m., March 23, and continuing on March 24, at UM's Life Science & Technology Park.

Hack-a-thons typically bring together computer programmers and others involved in software development to collaborate intensely on a given software project. During Impact Obesity, entrepreneurs and innovators are invited to join UM students and faculty and healthcare professionals to focus on a community crisis: the obesity epidemic in our diverse community.

Event coordinator Norma Kenyon, Ph.D., Director of the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, Chief Innovation Officer at the Miller School, Director of the Novel Clinical and Translational Methods component of the Miami CTSI and Vice Provost for Innovation at the University of Miami, says the hack-a-thon is designed to bring together teams that have innovative business ideas related to managing and reducing obesity.

"We want to inspire new ideas about how we can facilitate better health behavior and reduce the obesity problem facing Miami - especially in the unique cultural pockets that make up our great community," said Kenyon.

To help participants understand the challenges of fighting obesity, UM researchers and healthcare experts will provide an overview of obesity in Miami's minority populations during the first few hours of the event and work with the teams to conceive creative solutions for managing and reducing obesity in distinct cultural settings. Each team will be provided with a place to hack and build an idea, made possible by Right Space Innovation, as well as technological and development mentoring support from Rokk3r Labs, a Miami Beach based mobile app development company.

"We are interested in seeing what the local teams can create to help manage and reduce obesity in distinct cultural settings using mobile or web enabled interface," said J. Kevin Tugman, Chief Creative and Co-Founder at Lift1428. "Is there an app that can be developed for a specific audience that uses patient data to suggest dietary intake and track dietary habits? Or, can we think of a game that would engage both child and parent in their native language that enables or inspires better eating or exercise habits?"

Local teams who are interested in creating effective solutions and translating them into a business are encouraged to participate. Ideally, each team will arrive with a visionary or creative element, a solid development component, and a business concept.

At the conclusion of the event, teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges who will review and rate each concept. Winning teams will receive infrastructure support, clinical and scientific mentoring, and possibly seed funding to turn their innovative idea into a business.

For additional information or to register, visit Impact Obesity at or contact Raquel Perez at r.perez16 (@) med dot or J. Kevin Tugman of Lift1428 at kevin (@) lift1428 dot com.
J. Kevin Tugman