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Platform Connecting Medical Workers With Hospitals Wins NYUAD's First Virtual Hackathon The contest, that took place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, saw students across the globe engage virtually to come up with solutions to combat the ongoing crisis.

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The winners of the ninth annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World were announced on 20th of April, 2020, via a virtual media roundtable. Held online for the first time, the participants were given the task of coming up with effective solutions to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the three-day virtual hackathon, students received guidance from over 35 mentors, and in the final session, presented their solutions to a panel of 30 distinguished judges, including NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann.

Everything from the ideation process to connecting with mentors, and implementing the ideas was carried out virtually. Emerging as the top winner was Health Hero Match (H2M), a two-sided marketplace platform with an AI interface that connects medical workers to hospitals with staffing shortages, and enabling to facilitate a seamless transition for healthcare professionals. The platform can also inform hospitals when they will need more staff by detecting future peaks in COVID-19 cases in different cities, and alerting hospital administrators when a peak is predicted.

The H2M platform was developed by NYU Abu Dhabi student Máté Hekfusz, NYU student Monica Chang, Applied Science University in Jordan student Mahmoud Abdelhadi, Middlesex University Dubai student Danish Nihal, Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan student Amr Darawsheh, University of Pennsylvania in USA student Alexa Spagnola, and United Arab Emirates University student Shamma Mohammed Alghfeli. On its usability, Spagnola is eager for its public release: "We think it would be great is if we could partner with affiliates of the World Health Organization for publicity, which is really what drives the platform. We need a high number of high number of doctors and hospitals to make a double-sided model work. The first step would be [to] contact hospitals that are currently within peak zones and solving the problems these hospitals have. This will hopefully build trust for the platform and motivate other hospitals to want to implement this system."

Other notable winners were Task Jam in second place, a mobile application to help with personal productivity and keep track of daily tasks, and Bfit in third place, a user-friendly interface that guides and monitors a user's exercise routine. Grabbing the audience award is Nitaq, a platform for educators to turn lesson plans into a gamified, low-connectivity experience for students, especially those in impoverished communities, with limited or no access to the internet.

Supported by MIT Hacking Medicine and Outlier Fund, the event gathered students, mentors and judges from nearly 20 countries, Sana Odeh, Organizer, founder and Chair for the annual NYUAD International Professor of Computer Science at NYU New York and Affiliated Faculty at NYUAD, commented on the distinct nature of the virtual hackathon."In order to brainstorm and ideate, there has to be some kind of strong connection and intimacy to facilitate a process through. We were very worried about that. But the students set a schedule, and we kept meeting every night to make sure all the teams are doing okay. They were working about 18 hours a day. Everything was well-planned and exceeded all our expectations.''

Related: NYUAD Hackathon Encourages Use Of Tech For Social Change In The Arab World

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.


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