ECC Students Excel at the Health-Based Hackathon

Team members standing, from left: Louis Jean Paul, Grace Anthony, Teresa Cadet, Hajara Sulley and Oscar Obochi. In front is Professor George Effah

Presenting in Washington, D.C.

The challenge posed was to explore innovate ways to leverage health information technology for vulnerable populations. The five member team from Essex County College met the challenge head on and impressed the organizers of Cooper University Health Care’s (Camden) Social Determinants of Health Hackathon

“We chose to focus on digital literacy for seniors. A lot of senior citizens have difficulty navigating the digital world. So, we designed a computer and health literacy program specifically for seniors,” said team captain Oscar Obochi, a Cybersecurity and Network Technology major from Newark.

Their work paid off as the ECC team finished in the top four out of nine in the competition The other teams included IT and clinical professionals.  “We were the least experienced, but we worked hard and I think we really impressed the judges. As a team, we really weren’t too nervous,” stated Oscar.

The other ECC team members are Louis Jean Paul, Grace Anthony, Teresa Cadet, and Hajara Sulley. Their faculty mentor is Professor George Effah (Division of Math, Engineering & Computer Science).

The competition was held on November 10.

ECC had received funding from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) to support the New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities initiatives. The New Jersey Pathways to Career Opportunities is an unprecedented education and training pathways initiative sponsored by NJCCC that seeks to innovate New Jersey’s workforce.

The ECC students were supported and mentored through the College’s industry partner in the Healthcare Technology & Innovation Center, HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society). Cooper University Health Care is a member organization of HIMSS.  

This initiative brought together IT and healthcare professionals, but also benefited from contributions from the fields of social work, education, housing, nutrition, workforce development, law, and business.

“We began by clearly defining the project goals and understanding the criteria for success in the competition. The students’ success in the competition was a testament to their hard work and dedication, coupled with the mentorship provided. Moving to the next space not only validated their efforts but also boosted their confidence, fostering a sense of accomplishment that will undoubtedly carry forward into their future endeavors,” said Professor Effah.

As one of the top four at the Camden competition, the team headed to Washington, D.C. where they made a presentation on December 6 at the Value Based Care Summit. The Summit was produced by the The Healthcare Innovation Company (thINc) “That was a really good learning experience for us as we had the opportunity to meet a lot of experts in the medical fields,” said Oscar.

“We learned about the ongoing changes in the medical field and the many social determinants involved. I was able to talk to people about how the influence of technology affects care,” stated Oscar.