NJII code-a-thon focuses on maternal mortality and morbidity

Anthony Vecchione//January 30, 2019//

NJII code-a-thon focuses on maternal mortality and morbidity

Anthony Vecchione//January 30, 2019//

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From left, Hasumi Hayashi, competitor, MamaCare; Michael Gould, judge, Independence Blue Cross; Isabel Abonitalla, competitor, MamaCare; Sandra Elliott, judge, Hackensack Meridian Health; Vasanthan Kesavan, competitor, MamaCare; Thomas Bartiromo, judge, New Jersey Innovation Institute; Frankie Primerano, competitor, The Inky Caps; Thomas Westover, judge, Cooper Medical School / Rowan University; Marionela Gavriliuc, competitor, The Inky Caps; Linda Sloan Locke, judge, NJ Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives; Andrea Martinez-Mejia, judge, New Jersey Department of Health.

The New Jersey Innovation Institute, an NJIT corporation, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health hosted a code-a-thon on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 in Newark.

The keynote speaker for the event was New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, who has been a champion for improving infant and maternal health and mortality rates across the state.

The code-a-thon is a part of NJII’s Innovation Challenge Series co-hosted by the NJDOH. The code-a-thon event sponsors were Hackensack Meridian Health and Atlantic Health System.

The event involved a student competition where participants were asked to create, within 24-hours, a smartphone app for pregnant and postpartum women to help them learn about risk factors, to self-assess post-birth warning signs, and, when necessary, to prompt action and inform them about care options.

Inaceli Tubilleja, event coordinator and project manager at NJII said that student teams participated and competed along with mentors including maternal health, clinical and technology experts. Two winners were recognized for their achievements: The Inky Caps and MamaCare.

“The U.S. is suffering a significant maternal mortality issue the event was a way to address it,” said Tubilleja.

Thomas Bartiromo, chief innovation officer at NJII, said that New Jersey is ranked 45th in the nation with 50 percent of maternal deaths in days 1-42 following hospital discharge.

“While there are many challenges both on the hospital side inpatient side post discharge side, this was really around having students who really don’t know anything about it health care come together over this 24-hour period guided by mentors to solution a smart phone app to help mothers and family members to better understand risks attributed to maternal health issues and what actions they could take to help prevent maternal mortality and morbidity,” Bartiromo said.

“The whole spirit of the code-a-thon is to see things differently and not to lead with constraints. To have an open perspective to approach idea solving and solutions differently,” Bartiromo added.