Twenty teams of innovators ranging from middle-schoolers to college and medical students, to healthcare providers will pitch their health and wellness ideas to a panel of judges on Saturday, April 17, at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s third annual Health Make-A-Thon competition. The finalist teams were chosen from a  field of 94 entries from across Illinois, all vying for a chance at the resources to take their ideas from dream to reality.

The Health Make-A-Thon democratizes health innovation by challenging anyone from citizen scientist to expert to submit their ideas for solving broad-based health problems through new innovations or processes. Finalist teams will enter the ‘dolphin tank’ to deliver a rapid-fire pitch to a panel of judges and a live ‘virtual’ audience. Virtual audience members can get involved by voting for their favorite innovations. The ten winning teams will each receive $10,000 in resources, materials, and mentorship to develop their ideas into working prototypes through the Health Maker Lab network at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

This year’s entries varied widely demographically and geographically. Teams from 16 Illinois counties submitted proposals. Of the finalist entries, four came from medical students, three of those from the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Two teams are comprised of students at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. One entry was from a Chicago-area eighth-grade student, and three were physicians or staff from Carle Health.

The Spring 2021 Health Make-A-Thon finalists are:

  • A Smart Toy: Aiding Cognitive Development in Children with Autism by Gerry Derksen and Stan Ruecker (Champaign County)
  • A Wire-Free, 12-Lead EKG by Kenny Leung (Champaign County)
  • Artificial Intelligence Assistant for Social Workers Addressing Homelessness by Matthew De Venecia (Champaign County)
  • Artificial Muscle-based Exoskeleton as a Shock-absorbing Assistive Device by Jonghyun Hwang (Champaign County)
  • CalidGear: Wearable Thermoregulation Device by Tayyaba Ali (Cook County)
  • ECG Shirt by Hanna Erickson, Manisha Reddy, and Meghna Basavaraju (Champaign County)
  • FaceIt: A Wearable Medical Device to Measure and Monitor Facial Tension as a Biomarker of Related Complications and Stress by Mehreen Ali (DuPage County)
  • Healing Healthcare Disparities among BIPOC Patients through Virtual Reality Cultural Competency Training by Victoria Fields, Mardia Bishop, Charee Thompson, Sarah Bencivenga (Champaign County)
  • Hologram Medical Training by Mamadi Papus Keita and April Louise Keita (Champaign County)
  • izzii – An App that Aids in Generalizability and Inclusion in Phase III Clinical Trials by Sneha Subramanian and Avani Patel (Cook County)
  • Music to My Ears, A Balm From Bronzeville by Malik Ali Muhammad and Ray Muhammad (Cook County)
  • Nano-Hyperbaric Oxygen Delivery System for Chronic Wounds by Michael Tsipursky, Joseph Irudayaraj, Jordan Marsh, and Neelabh Sharma  (Champaign County)
  • NutriU: A Personalized, Automated Nutrition Assistant by Emily Chen, Firmiana Wang, Sarah Guo, and Anuprova Bhowmik (Champaign County)
  • OUCH: Optimizing Understanding of Critical Health by Bhavika Kagathi and Lindsay Kwok
  • PediPressure Monitor by Amy Minas (Champaign County)
  • Preventing Acute Renal Failure after Crush Injury by Nathaniel Brooke and Ariana Barreau (Champaign County)
  • ProteCKD: Earlier Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease among Underrepresented Patient Populations by Ariana Barreau, Phani Gaddipati, Andrew Chang, Isabella Lebovic, Priya Kumar, Sana Kamdar, and Thomas Chow (Champaign County)
  • ScreenAI: Using Image Recognition to Drive Patient-centered Dermatology by Romir Singla, Christopher George, and Sohom Dash (Lake County)
  • STEM Vocabulary App for Deaf Students by Mona Jawad, Ethan Gaughan, Aditi Adya, Ryan Martin, Ayesha Kazi, Sumayyah Hussain, Amy Lee, Elizabeth Troy, and Sri Medisetti (Champaign County)
  • stickON: A Quick and Inexpensive Diagnostic for Hormone-Related Disorders by Ryan He, Elan Pan, and Ian Pan (Coles County)

This year’s Make-A-Thon also includes an address by Yemaya Bordain, Ph.D., the director of Global Public Sector and Internet of Things Group Sales for Intel and a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumna.

Everyone is welcome to attend the live virtual event from 2 to 5 p.m. and be part of the voting, but advance registration is required here.

Learn more about the Make-A-Thon competition here.

Learn more about the Health Maker Lab here.