Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit is the first cross-border Hacking Health chapter in the world. It brings together two cities, which comprise a world-class automotive cluster that is reinventing itself as a global leader in health and mobility.
The 100-year-old Ambassador Bridge is iconic of this chapter’s determination to reach across divides and bring creative people together from the tech, health and automotive sectors to collaborate on innovative solutions to healthcare challenges on both sides of the Detroit River.
This chapter fosters innovation across the Canadian-US border
Now entering its fifth year – Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit has drawn over 1,000 participants, connected over 60 partner organizations, sparked a half-dozen start-up companies (CarePRN is one of them) and inspired a cross-border MedHealth Summit that annually matches health start-ups with investors .
There is also Kaitlyn Sheehan—a Registered Nurse— who had an idea for a mobile app that could improve health care on both sides of the Detroit-Windsor border. Read her fabulous story here and how she won a hackathon top award for mobile app design in this previous post.
Gathering automotive & healthcare sectors in the same place?
After the lights dimmed on a successful MedHealth Summit in downtown Detroit in early 2018, one that featured an electric keynote by celebrated neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu featured in the movie Concussion, the organizers gathered in a boardroom at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy at Wayne State University. Many of those gathered had been founders and leaders from Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit – which provided the spark for the Medhealth Summit.
In part, the organizers wanted to debrief on such a successful meeting and chart potential destinations for Medhealth in 2019. This meeting raised the potential of bringing talent from the automotive and health-care sectors together.
A year later, we are happy to report that Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit IV will explore the theme of mobility in the fall. The potential for creative engineers and programmers from General Motors and Google and Lyft to talk healthcare is exciting.
In the video below, Robert C. Brooks, III – a hackathon participant, talks about what the automotive industry can bring to healthcare:
Our Movement Builds Ecosystems of Innovation
At the Medhealth Summit debrief, Stephen Konya, a Senior Innovation Strategist from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, was invited to lead a discussion. He is exploring the growing network of health-related cluster initiatives across the United States – a cluster of clusters – and the opportunity to integrate the MedHealth Summit.
And that is the genius of Hacking Health – connecting thought leaders from health and tech regionally, opening up promising collaboration between previously sequestered sectors and looking beyond the horizon to connect creative problem solvers globally. That’s Hacking Health’s approach.
That’s the magic of a grass-roots movement
Original text from Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk,
City Councillor for Ward 7 in the City of Windsor
Director of Partnerships at WEtech Alliance
Leader of the Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit Chapter