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Hacking for Health

Kira McCoy 09F, Zeke Nierenberg 09F, Jamie Matheson 10F, and Eric Locke, co-founders of the company Trext, hosted the 2nd Annual Health Literacy Hackathon November 2 and 3 at Hampshire.

“A hackathon is an event that brings computer programmers, web developers, designers, advocates, activists, students, and innovators together,” McCoy said. She noted that the term “hack” does not necessarily need to have a negative connotation: “‘Hacking’ is modifying something in a clever way.”

Hackathon participants broke into groups with the objective of collaborating to create “technology-driven solutions to help deliver clear and accessible health information,” McCoy said. “The teams worked from 11 a.m. Saturday to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Some people slept, some people didn’t.”

The projects were judged by a panel consisting of computer science professor Lee Specter, Liz D’Aloia 83F, and health promotion director Jordan Perry.

The winning project was a website called Tactful: Advice For Sensitive Conversations. It offers advice on how to interact with and support a friend or loved diagnosed with anything from cancer to mental illness. The winning team received a $500 prize.

The hackathon was sponsored by Hampshire’s Creativity Center, School of Cognitive Science, and Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) program. Hampshire alum Molly McLeod 05F, who works with CommunicateHealth, was a valuable partner in organizing the event, McCoy said.

Hackathon Winners

Pictured: Winning team members Omri Bernstein 08F, Molly McLeod 05F, Alex Liebowitz, and Zeke Nierenberg 09F

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