July 30 marked the end of our 2017 Innovating for Environmental Health series, and wow was it an exciting and inspiring summer.
We started this initiative last year with the intention of introducing the developer community to EH and promoting open data use by way of an app challenge or hackathon. Through this initiative, teams of developers and creatives compete to build apps that solve various EH issues. While the initiative was hosted online last year, this year we made an exciting change.
Instead of being run online, NEHA participated in a series of weekend-long, in-person events as a part of AngelHack’s Global Hackathon Series, during which teams competed to create apps that focused on water quality and the utilization of EH data.
Our first event was in Los Angeles, CA followed by an event in Detroit, MI, and the final event in Silicon Valley, CA. NEHA, along with local EH professionals, attended these events to advocate for EH and to inspire and guide teams throughout the weekend.
At each event, a winning team was selected and awarded a monetary prize and stipend to attend the 2017 AEC in Grand Rapids, MI. At the AEC, the LA and Detroit teams presented their solutions to an audience of over 50 attendees. What followed was a stimulating Q & A with input from audience members on improving the apps. At one point, audience members were asked to raise their hand if they could imagine implementing these apps in their own communities, and almost every hand went up.
In addition, one audience member suggested that we share open data resources that could be useful to EH professionals, which are also the open data sources we encouraged developers to use during the in-person events. So here they are:
There are also states and cities that have their own open data portals, where you can access and use public data freely; just search for these online.
Make sure to learn about this year’s Innovating for Environmental Health winners and share your thoughts!
Thanks for reading,