Health Make-a-thon Winners Focus on Advancing Health Tech


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Four teams were selected as winners in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s Spring Health Make-a-Thon Tournament of Champions competition held on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Each of the nine teams competing had won a previous Health Make-a-Thon competition and were vying for $20,000 per team in continued resource support from the Health Maker Lab, to take their innovations to the next level.

Since, 2019, Carle Illinois’ Health Make-a-Thon has challenged students, experts, novices, and citizen scientists alike to propose their best idea to solve a problem in health and wellness. Finalists won the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience. Winning teams from each Make-a-Thon received resource support from the Health Maker Lab network to develop their ideas. In the 2022 Tournament of Champions, past winning teams were invited to compete for an opportunity to advance their innovations.

“The Health Make-a-Thon 2022 was a perfect opportunity for the most promising teams from the previous cohorts to transition from the ideation, team-building, and prototyping stage to the development of a business plan and a pitch with an entrepreneurial mindset, potentially leading to startups, invention disclosures/patents, and projects with a broad societal impact,” said Irfan Ahmad, Assistant Dean for Research, and Executive Director of Health Maker Lab at Carle Illinois.

The four winning teams in the Tournament of Champions are:

  • ASL Aspire – An app that assists hearing impaired students learn STEM vocabulary (Team: Mona Jawad, Ayesha Kazi, Ryan Martin, Ethan Gaughan, Parima Michareune, Reilly Brennan, Shams Al-Shabani, Khatija Syeda, Ammaz Khalid, Hamnah Razzak, Amy Lee, Sri Medisetti, and Sumayyah Hussain);
  • CalidGear – Wearable Thermoregulation Device and Monitoring Software (Team: Tayyaba Ali);
  • KoyiVent – A low-cost, durable, and portable non-invasive ventilator (Team: Mobola Kukoyi*, Roy Zhouand Matthew De Venecia); and
  • Nano-Hyperbaric Oxygen Delivery – Nano-hyperbaric wound healing technology and Oxygenating Topical Products (Team: Dr. Michael Tsipursky*, Professor Joseph Irudayaraj*, Neelabh Sharma, and Carle Illinois student Jordan Marsh*)

*Affiliated with Carle Illinois College of Medicine and/or Carle Health

Each team will receive additional time and resources in their quest to impact human health and health care. “The winning Health Make-a-Thon Cohort for 2022 is a testament to the energy, creativity, and inventiveness demonstrated by the competing teams, all built around a culture of health innovation at Carle Illinois,” Ahmad said.

The Health Make-a-Thon is part of Carle Illinois’ continuing effort to give voice to great new ideas that can change health and health care. “The Carle Illinois Health Maker Lab — in its quest to democratize health innovation — has provided opportunities for 30 winning teams from Cohorts 2019-21 to launch their ideas into tangible products and innovative social initiatives,” said Ruby Mendenhall, Carle Illinois’ Associate Dean for Democratization of Health Innovation.

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This story was published April 15, 2022.