Recap: Edmonton’s HealthHack Competition

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to help judge the City of Edmonton’s HealthHack Competition. Connected to Edmonton’s Smart Cities Challenge, the competition invited citizens to propose innovative approaches to improve the four health indicators of mental health, physical health, social health, and economic health. Nearly 40 proposals were submitted, and a previous round of judging (that I was not involved in) narrowed that down to the top 5, who were invited to spend a month working on a prototype which they demoed at the event yesterday.

HealthHack Competition

These were the top 5 teams who presented a prototype:

Buddy Benches
Submitted by Troy Pavlek

“The City of Edmonton started the work on reducing social isolation with our buddy bench program, now I propose to take that simple act of saying “hello” online as well and make it easier and more persistent to connect with those around you. By connecting physical locations in Edmonton to a persistent online community we can reduce social isolation, improve mental health and get people out in the community.”

Cannabis Ecosystem
Submitted by Joe Dang and Reed Sutton

“With the legalization of recreational cannabis throughout Canada rapidly approaching, there is a significant lack of data regarding its use and effect on various aspects of health. By leveraging blockchain technology, Edmonton has the opportunity to shape a new national ecosystem surrounding healthy cannabis consumption and regulation, while simultaneously generating open and transparent data that will have global implications.”

Fitness App for Non-Athletes
Submitted by Dr. PJ Rawlek, K. DeZutter, N. Twal, C. Nicole, E. Barbaric and B. Poetz

“The current problem with the thousands of fitness app technologies is they’re designed to compete for that market of those 15% of Canadians, the highly motivated, exercise-experienced. Alternatively, the GoGet.Fit solution is designed to specifically target that 85%, the under-serviced mostly apprehensive exercise-naïve population. This solution will provide solid evidence-based strategies early-on to support the pursuit of a healthier active lifestyle and will optimize success through providing valued support from a professional team – their healthcare provider networked with a community-based exercise specialist.”

Urban Design/Mental Health App
Submitted by Fahim Hassan, Rokib S A, Mohib Khan and Hamman Samuel

“Develop an interactive web application that will collect geo-coded Twitter data, analyze the text and link it with socio-economic data. The insight will help planners and policy makers to improve urban design and achieve mental health outcomes.”

Wheelchair Accessibility Tracker
Submitted by Martin Ferguson-Pell

“We wish to make significant modifications to a research prototype to enable us to improve accessibility and provide information to wheelchair users about the physical effort needed to propel a wheelchair in our built environments (summer and winter).”

Thoughts on the competition

Picking a winner from those proposals was not easy! We scored each prototype on three criteria: health impact, innovation, and completeness. After each presentation, we had a few minutes to ask questions of the presenters. Everyone did such a good job of describing their prototype and fielding our queries.

HealthHack Competition
Members of the winning teams

Congratulations to Martin Ferguson-Pell, who took home the grand prize of $5,000 for his “Fitbit for wheelchairs”. While there could be advantages to trip planning using the data that the device collects, I actually think it would be more impactful to map areas of the city and use that to improve infrastructure and design. Pushing around a stroller these past couple of months has made it clear just how difficult it can be to traverse our city sidewalks, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like for wheelchair users. Apparently 75% of wheelchair users report shoulder issues, so anything we can do to make the ride smoother would have a big impact.

I love the premise behind GoGet.Fit: that most existing fitness apps and technologies are targeted toward people who are already active. The other 85% of the population needs some help, or we’re all going to pay for it via increased healthcare costs. Rather than just count steps using a Fitbit, GoGet.Fit connects you with professionals (doctors, nurses, fitness instructors, etc.) so that they can take a more active role in ensuring that you get active! They already have hundreds of users, and have conducted a successful pilot with a PCN.

Troy’s presentation for extending buddy benches into the digital realm was very engaging. Using NFC to quickly connect you to a community of people who have physically been where you are is a great idea. A little like checking in on Foursquare used to be, I guess.

The “Urban Design/Mental Health App” was a neat use of Twitter data, and is something I have often thought about. What can we learn from geotagged tweets that could help us improve the way we build our city?

I’ll admit that a bunch of red flags went up for me on the Cannabis Ecosystem prototype. Blockchain and cannabis? Talk about going after buzzwords! That said, the application of blockchain technology to safely collect and share data on cannabis use is intriguing, and the system they presented seems to be very well thought out. I look forward to seeing how they take it forward!

This being the first year that the City has held the HealthHack competition, they opened it to everyone, which means we ended up with an interesting mix of both existing and brand new projects. We struggled with that as judges. In future years, breaking proposals into two categories would be a good way to allow for both while making the judging a little more fair.

Well done to the finalists and indeed to everyone who submitted a proposal!

Health Innovation in Edmonton

Though they share a similar objective – innovation in healthcare – the HealthHack competition should not be confused with Hacking Health, an event that first happened in Edmonton back in 2013. That said, both events help bring the vision that Mayor Don Iveson first shared in 2016 of “positioning Edmonton as a world class health innovation city” to life. It’s exciting to see some real on-the-ground activity!

HealthHack Competition

Why Edmonton as a health city?

“The Edmonton ecosystem has a range of assets in the health innovation space. This includes Canada’s largest integrated health system and a readiness to diversify the economy; researchers and entrepreneurs who have created and will create new products, devices and system innovations; and a willingness to take risks in order to drive growth.”

You can learn more about the Health City Initiative here.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #292

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • As promised, Metro Edmonton became The Star Edmonton on Tuesday, April 10. I am a little surprised at how all-in they went with the Star branding!
  • The Edmonton Examiner has shifted its publication day from Wednesday to Thursday. As noted by Jeff Samsonow, the website hasn’t been updated in a few weeks, and the last tweet from the Examiner was sent on March 9. Managing Editor Dave Breakenridge told me that “due to staff changes our focus shifted solely to the print edition for the last couple of issues, but there will be a revived online presence in the coming weeks.”
  • This news is a month old now, but possibly related: Doug Johnson moved from Postmedia (specifically the Examiner) to take on the position of Front & Dish Editor at Vue Weekly.
  • Bryn Griffiths, who was with Newcap since December 2012, has been “downsized” out of the company. “Enjoyed my time at K97 but time to re-assess and re-invent,” he tweeted. “Done it before. Will do it again.”
  • K97’s new morning show debuted this morning. The all new Terry Evans Show features Pete Potipcoe, who spent the last four years in Fort MacMurray.
  • There’s an A Channel Edmonton Reunion scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at the Edmonton Public Library downtown.
  • Global Edmonton’s wardrobe sale over the weekend raised $12,000 for the Terra Centre, an increase of $3,000 over last year’s total.
  • Kenneth Whyte, former president of Rogers Publishing Ltd. and past editor of Maclean’s and the National Post, is launching a new publishing company called The Sutherland House. Ken started his journalism career at the Sherwood Park News and joined the Alberta Report in 1984.
  • The Journal has won a lot of fans online recently for its weather-related headlines. Headlines like “You’re cold, I’m cold, everything is cold” and “It’s snowing again. Here’s a picture of a dog.” Check them out here.
  • Here is the 20th Alberta Podcast Network Roundup! The next Edmonton Podcasting Meetup is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at Variant Edition Comics & Culture.
  • For 3-4 weeks back in 1973, while the Edmonton Journal went through a newsprint shortage, 630 CHED kept the comics alive via the radio.
  • Hope to see you on May 5 at CKUA for PodSummit!

Premier Rachel Notley addresses cabinet 88223
Premier Rachel Notley addresses cabinet, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for April 15, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Two Second Headways
Two Second Headways, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

  • I hope to see you at City Hall on Monday afternoon for the City of Edmonton’s HealthHack Prototype event! It runs from 2-4pm.
  • The 110th Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival kicks off on Monday and runs through the end of the month.
  • Head over to the Shaw Conference Centre on Tuesday from 10-4pm for the Edmonton Career Fair & Training Expo.
  • The families of four Edmonton-area Humboldt Broncos players will host a public Celebration of the lives of Jaxon Joseph, Logan Hunter, Parker Tobin and Stephen Wack at 1:00 PM MT on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at Rogers Place. You can get free tickets here.
  • The City is hosting two public engagement sessions this week on proposed grass and yard waste collection changes, on Wednesday at the Mill Woods Senior and Multicultural Centre and on Thursday at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre.
  • The Sexual Exploitation Working Group is hosting a lunch & learn on Thursday at MacEwan University. Wear orange to support the 2018 Sexual Exploitation Week of Awareness.
  • Rapid Fire Theatre’s Bonfire Festival continues on Thursday and Friday at the Citadel.
  • Friday is 4/20. One of the events taking place that day to celebrate is 420 FEST at Union Hall.
  • The Edmonton Cottage Life & Cabin Show takes place at the Edmonton Expo Centre from Friday to Sunday.
  • Chantal Kreviazuk is performing at the Winspear Centre on Saturday evening.
  • Saturday is Lay Day Edmonton, a free opportunity to “tour the Edmonton Law Courts, view mock trials featuring the Ghostbusters, the Cat in the Hat, Mario & friends, and Superman, and receive legal consultations and information from our volunteer lawyers.”
  • This year’s Spring Edmonton Woman’s Show takes place at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Save the date! AccelerateAB is taking place at the Shaw Conference Centre on Tuesday, April 24.

Spring Thaw & Rocks
Spring Thaw

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #291

PodSummit 2018 is coming up here in Edmonton on May 5 at CKUA! The event features a great lineup of speakers, including Karen Unland, Roger Kingkade, Rob Greenlee, and many more. Tickets are $150 and the event is already 60% sold out. Or you can win your way in, as I have one ticket to give away! Simply leave a comment below (using a valid email address) telling me what your favorite podcast is, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll draw one name at random on Sunday, April 15, and the event organizers will be in touch with your ticket. Hope to see you at PodSummit!

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

PodSummit
PodSummit 2018 takes place in Edmonton on May 5

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for April 8, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Sunday Afternoon
Sunday Afternoon, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Projects to build prosperous communities
Projects to build prosperous communities, photo by Government of Alberta

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #290

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Goodbye Metro Edmonton, hello StarMetro Edmonton/TheStar Edmonton. Torstar has “doubled the size of our Metro Edmonton newsroom” and will be relaunching/rebranding on April 10. The newspaper will now be called StarMetro Edmonton, and the website will be TheStar Edmonton, a new local hub on thestar.com. The company is promising a much bigger focus on investigations. Alex Boyd will serve as the StarMetro Edmonton Bureau Chief and tweeted “we’re still committed to Edmonton, we’re just gaining a bit more muscle.”
  • The Globe and Mail reports that Torstar is hiring 20 reporters to add to the 15 currently located in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton.
  • The Edmonton Sun launched in Edmonton forty years ago today. “Despite an ad in the first Edmonton Sun from our competition, the Edmonton Journal, wishing us “a nice visit to the city,” it has been an extended stay.”
  • Looks like changes are underway at 92.5 Fresh Radio. They are changing up the morning show with details to be announced “soon”. Previous hosts Dani and Jay had their last show on March 27 as did evening show host Amanda Propp.
  • Bollywood is For Lovers, the podcast by locals Matt Bowes and Erin Fraser, was featured in an article on TheHindu.com. “What these two unlikely Bollywood devotees represent is a wider cultural movement: non-Indians from around the globe are not only discovering Indian cinema but also creating platforms to celebrate, discuss and champion it through blogs, podcasts and YouTube.”
  • Graham Hicks has the story behind the $258 million sale of Edmonton-based CCI Thermal to an American company, and its connection to Allarcom via Harold Roozen, “the right-hand man, and then son-in-law, of the late, great Edmonton entrepreneur Dr. Charles Allard.”
  • A number of local radio stations and media personalities have been nominated in the 2018 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards. The winners will be announced on May 10.
  • Grant Ainsley wrote an ode to the old police scanner. “Police services, fire departments and paramedic units across Alberta will soon receive more privacy, because new technology will allow traditional police scanners to go silent, at least for the ears of the media.”
  • Here is the latest Alberta Podcast Network Roundup.
  • Paula Kirman is renewing her push to raise $5,000 for Radical Citizen Media. She recently hit 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.
  • The Mark Spector Golf Classic, which has raised $568,000 in four years, is coming up on July 25.

2018_03_24USPORTSCurling (71)
Photo by Don Voaklander

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #289

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Improved transit in Edmonton metro region
Improve transit in Edmonton metro region, photo by Government of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • Gerry Forbes will hang up his headphones at CJAY92 in Calgary this week. “My father was a broadcaster and one of the best at radio station 630 CHED in Edmonton. I was fortunate enough to get to work with him when I was a punk kid and loved everything I saw at the radio station.”
  • The CRTC says it will consult on new ways to make cellular services more affordable, “but stopped short of mandating a model that would have forced large wireless companies to resell network access to startup carriers that don’t build their own networks.”
  • YouTube TV will be the first-ever presenting sponsor for the NBA Finals. “The NBA was the first pro sports league to partner with YouTube with the launch of its own channel way back in November 2005.”
  • Spotify goes public next week and has said it expects to grow to 96 million paid subscribers with revenue of $6.6 billion this year.

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for March 25, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

E-Town
E-Town, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Downtown library March 2018
Downtown Library March 2018, photo by jasonwoodhead23

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #288

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Getting Alberta in the game
Minister Bilous announces a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit program, photo by Government of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • “The latest industry to get a Trump bump: Journalism schools.” Apparently applications have jumped at Columbia’s graduate school of journalism, The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
  • Jason Kottke looks back at twenty years of writing kottke.org. Quite the milestone!
  • The Canadian Association of Black Journalists is running a survey to find out what a re-imagined CABJ should look like.
  • A new report examining virtual reality formats for journalism found that VR “prompted a higher empathetic response than static photo/text treatments and a higher likelihood of participants to take ‘political or social action’ after viewing.”

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for March 18, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Dismount and Walk
Dismount and Walk, photo by More Bike Lanes Please (be sure to read the caption)

Upcoming Events

Cities & Climate Change Science Conference.  5-7 March 2018, Edmonton (day 2)
At the Cities & Climate Change Science Conference, photo by UCLG