U of I Carle Illinois College Of Medicine Solicits Ideas For Health Innovations

 
Winners of the first Health Make-A-Thon hosted by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois pose with U of I staff. Standing in a row in front a  projector screen.

Winners of the first Health Make-A-Thon hosted by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois pose with U of I staff.

University of Illinois

Ten ideas aimed at improving an aspect of the healthcare system will receive thousands of dollars worth of investment from the Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois. 

The school is soliciting idea submissions as part of its second annual Health Make-a-Thon competition. Last year’s winners included ideas like therapeutic miniature horses, a smart pacifier, and a mobile phototherapy suit designed for babies born with jaundice.

For the inaugural competition, the college solicited entries from Champaign County. The competition will now welcome submissions from residents across the entire state, according to Ruby Mendenhall, assistant dean for diversity and democratization of health innovation at the U of I Carle Illinois College of Medicine. 

She said everyone from children to older adults are welcome to submit their best ideas. 

“You don’t have to have training in health. You don’t have to be associated with the university. In fact, for the Make-a-thon last year, half of the submissions were from people who were not affiliated with the university,” Mendenhall said.

She said she especially hopes that children submit to the competition, with their parents’ permission. 

“We really want to encourage young people and for parents to encourage their children who have a gift or genius in terms of thinking about health or wellness, or even if they just, you know, have ideas — we really want to encourage them to submit their ideas,” she said. 

Last year, a group of students from Garden Hills Academy in Champaign, were semifinalists in the competition. Their idea for a “calming courtyard” didn’t make the final cut, Mendenhall said, but U of I officials still worked with the students to make their idea a reality.

“So, in some ways, what we're hoping will happen is that as people see some of the issues that are out there, and ideas that people have, that maybe there will be ways that they could come together to address these issues, and therefore, improve health on a global scale in very significant ways,” Mendenhall said. 

Submissions from this year’s competition will be whittled down to about 20 semi-finalists who will present their ideas to a few dozen judges and the public, she said.  From that pool, 10 finalists will be selected. Mendenhall said the winners will receive both financial resources, access to U of I facilities and mentorship from staff. 

“We have like about a billion dollars worth of infrastructure, in terms of the lab, in terms of the tools, in terms of the know-how, and we are opening that door to the community and others," she said. 

The deadline to submit is Jan. 6, 2020. More information about the Health Make-a-Thon can be found here

Follow Lee Gaines on Twitter: @LeeVGaines

Story source: WILL