The goal of the weekend was to serve as an open-innovation platform for a diverse community to co-create solutions that have the potential to change the trajectory of the local and national opioid crisis. The idea for the challenge came from the BP’s Policy Team, who learned about a successful opioid “Hack-A-Thon” hosted by CAMTech in Boston in 2016. The Borough President’s office reached out to CAMTech and collaborated with them to create a similar event in New York City.
Kicking off the event, BP Oddo spoke about the local impact of the opioid crisis on the Staten Island community. Other speakers included Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, Dr. Ram Raju of Northwell Health, First Deputy New York City Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, and District Attorney Michael McMahon. In addition, those in recovery and family members who lost loved ones to addiction spoke about their personal experiences. Representatives from Google and CVS Health joined a panel discussion on what large companies can do to help fight this epidemic.
As part of the challenge, 12 multi-disciplinary teams were formed—composed of engineers, data experts, social workers, clinicians, and other professionals. The teams worked over the weekend to develop, finalize, and pitch their innovations with the help of subject-matter experts—representing government, hospitals, public health, business, first responders, and the treatment community—who made themselves available to offer mentorship. Each team gave a three-minute pitch on Sunday afternoon to the panel of judges.
Here are the winning entries:
Grand Prize: Team RAN won the $2,000 Empire State Opioid Epidemic Innovation Award. RAN links individuals with certified peer advocates to meet patients at hospitals and treatment recovery centers.
Northwell Health Innovation Award: Team Recover We won $1,500 for innovating a Google chat to link individuals with prevention, treatment, and opioid recovery programs.
CAMTech Innovation Award: Team Quick Reversal won $1,500 for innovating a nasal patch that dispenses Narcan to prevent opioid overdose.
Honorable Mention: Team ARK won $500 for innovating a kit that aggregates existing prevention, treatment, and recovery tools for hospitals, needle exchanges, detox centers, and rehab facilities.
“I’m so pleased to see this event come to life and be such a success. We recruited talented individuals with hard-to-find skill sets to help us add options to the toolkit we use to tackle the opioid epidemic. We are eager to see how these promising innovations progress and hope to apply the best of them on Staten Island,” said BP Oddo. “Thanks again to the Governor’s Office, NYS OASAS, Northwell Health, Columbia University’s Public Health and Engineering Schools—and most importantly our organizing entity that made this all possible—CAMTech at Massachussets General Hospital, for working with us to turn this idea into reality.”
The challenge continues at Demo Day on January 31st, where all 12 teams will have the opportunity to compete for a $10,000 prize. Each team will have four months to develop their ideas, bring their innovations to life, and perfect their pitches.