Karen Simms, Ph.D.
Karen Simms, Ph.D., Founding Director of Trauma and Resilience Initiative, Inc. delivered a keynote talk about the healthcare disparities in mental health, providing a deeper perspective on issues and challenges to the participating teams.

Three teams of student innovators were selected as winners by a pool of Dolphin Tank judges in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s Fourth Annual Fall Health Make-a-Thon organized by the Health Maker Lab. Seven teams comprised of medical students, engineering/computer science students, community members, and health care providers brain-stormed mental health solutions for underserved populations. The winning ideas are listed below:

First place – $5000 prize

The CHAMBAND Together team proposed promoting mental well-being and fostering cross-cultural connections among high school students through a new lunch program that would feature a menu designed, made, and facilitated by students.

Team members:  Carle Illinois students Mukul Govande, Pranav Dorbala, Manaka Sato, and Richard Li, Walker Rickford (engineering student), and Dr. Paul Arnold (healthcare provider).

Second place – $3000 prize

The JUNIPER team proposed an AI-based journal to collect mental health data.

Team members: Anant Naik, Panik Moradian, Tarika Patel, Michelle Mao, Bilal Karim (community member/engineering), and Dr. Paul Arnold

Third place – $2000 prize

The I Feel team proposed a community-integrated program to help children of all ages to develop healthy coping skills and resilience, using an app, a website, and activities that foster healthy emotional expression.

Team members: Keith Cordner, Madeline Minneci, Kellie Mullany, Noah Nigh, Natalie Ramsy, Diana Wu, Mikal Karim (community member), and Erika Motley (health care provider).

Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s Fall Make-a-Thon — held each year through its Health Maker Lab — challenges future physician innovators to work with team members from the community and other disciplines at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to develop innovative solutions to broad-based health and wellness challenges or health care needs. The Make-a-Thon supports Carle Illinois’ commitment to advance health care and democratize health care innovation.