Obesity Prevention Code-A-Thon Finale: From an invididual to a civic mindset

DC Health Week Code-a-Thon 13141 – The School Fit Team – They won!

In the weeks leading up to this weekend’s code-a-thon, conversations like this, with respected community organizers like Greg Bloom were happening:

This is a reasonable question. In some mHealth circles, people feel “App” is a bad word now, because it seems like too simple a solution to complex problems.

Enter this week’s code-a-thon. As I mentioned in the post about the code-a-thon yesterday, there were more than a few experts in social determinants of health and geospatial imaging present, and it made a difference. By the time we got to presenting the final entries, I definitely noticed that teams had learned, slept on things, and created tools that enhanced understanding of community conditions, not just a person’s day to day activities. Since many people believe that that the causes of behavior lie deeper than individuals having information, this is very important.

DC Health Week Code-a-Thon 13129 – School Fit

And the winner is…. School Fit

The School Fit team, which happens to include amongst its ranks Christine Kraft ( @ChristineKraft ) (who said she would just do a drive by on Saturday and now look what happened…). developed a ruby on rails app that integrates location based information along with school fitness rankings to work at a family and community level to combat obesity.

This application, like many others at the code-a-thon, relies on layers of community data to guide people either to civic action, or to understand better the causes of the causes of their conditions. The team is mindful of social differences between schools, so have planned the metrics around educational activities as well as outcomes to assign fit scores to schools. From that perspective, I say, yes, this app could bring neighbors together to solve community problems.

These aren’t the apps that might have been built 1 – 2 years ago, which tells me that (a) people interested in developing apps for health are interested in improving health and are able and willing to learn the most promising avenues to do that (b) the connection to geospatial analysis and social data can change the way people think:

DC Health Week Code-a-Thon – Gratutitous Hot Sauce Shot 13114

I’m impressed!

Alan Viars ( @avairs ) bringing the hot sauce was just icing on the cake. Thanks to Danielle Cass ( @DanielleCass ), The Health 2.0 Challenge Team, Deb Linton ( @pingdeb ), Hemali Thakkur, and the Center for Total Health ( @kptotalhealth ) for the hospitality.


Thanks for the post and photos, Ted.
I want to call out the super-talents pictured in the School Fit team photo above.  They deserve the credit! From left to right, back row first, they are:
Jay Nagy > Ryan Duryea, dev > Art Nicewick, lead > me, Christine Kraft > Amanda Robison
As someone with clinical R + D as well as big portal experience on the consumer side, the School Fit idea is smart enough pass as a v.1 ranking engine, intuitive enough to pass a consumer’s “I get it” test, and nimble enough to encourage stakeholders across the spectrum of community health and education to take a look and see what they can add.
We hope the School Fit idea sparks a variety of conversations, integrations, and social initiatives and while there is no clear future plan, perhaps others on the team will chime in with ideas.
Thanks to Kaiser, ONC, Health 2.0 for providing a challenge worth taking!  

Christine, Thanks so much for adding this information, a worthy addition to this post, which describes a very innovative community-supportive solution,

Thanks for the post and pix, Ted!  I was the developer for Team School Fit Team.
I think the entire team had a great time at the Code-a-thon this weekend…and that was before we found out we won!  I echo Christine’s thanks to Kaiser, ONC, and Health 2.0.  I encourage anyone interested in future Code-a-thon’s to go.
I want to point out that the School Fit webapp is still up and running at:
Shout outs to Art for the great idea, Jay for the sweet, sweet business devving, Christine for the valuable insights, and Amanda for wrangling all that Big Data!  Truly a team effort. Go Team School Fit Team!

Ted Eytan, MD