Booz Allen Hamilton Joins #VABrainTrust Hackathon for Veterans

Booz Allen Hamilton Joins #VABrainTrust Hackathon for Veterans

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.@BoozAllen joins @DeptVetAffairs @VAInnovation @Galvanize @Capital Factory 2 hack for #vets #VABrainTrust
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 9:30am

CAMPAIGN: Military Family and Veterans

CONTENT: Article

More than 500 veterans, caregivers, clinicians, data scientists, designers, and engineers gathered the weekend of February 20 for the #VABrainTrust Hackathon. Here, diverse teams worked together to create brain health innovations for Veterans experiencing mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MyVA Partnerships, VA Center for Innovation, and Booz Allen Hamilton hosted the hackathon at two of Booz Allen’s iHub locations—Galvanize in San Francisco and Capital Factory in Austin.

Jarah Meador, Lead of Innovation Sourcing at the VA Center for Innovation, kicked off the Austin event, telling attendees, “Up to 20% of Veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are living with PTSD in a given year. In each of these data point exists a human story – an individual with a life, a family, and loved ones. So we’re here to co-create, with veterans, solutions that will transform how we reintegrate, rehabilitate, and diagnose veterans experiencing mTBI and PTSD.”

At Capital Factory and Galvanize, 20 projects were created over the course of the weekend. Booz Allen’s data curation platform, Sailfish, provided hackathon participants with datasets categorized by the hackathon themes. Project ideas included: using Twitter bots for suicide prevention and intervention, creating online communities for service members to find jobs and re-integrate into society, developing platforms for clinicians to provide qualified veteran medical referrals, and using wearable devices to monitor and improve sleep patterns and attentiveness.

Judges and mentors for the event included representatives from  Vets in Tech, U.S. Digital Service, Google, Map Box, PARC, Silicon Valley Bank, The University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health, UC Berkeley School of Information, Bayes Impact, Bunker Labs, the VA's Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center and Booz Allen Hamilton. #VABrainTrust mentor, Kevin Vigilante, a Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice President and the firm’s Chief Medical Officer, shared, “one-third of Booz Allen employees are veterans, and we believe that all our Veterans deserve the best help that we can provide. This hackathon has been a tremendous example of how we can combine data, innovation, and people inspired to make a difference, to identify new opportunities to strengthen veterans faced with mTBI and PTSD.”

#VABrainTrust hackathon winning teams—Home, Gray Matter, Awesome Sauce, Air, WhereWeAre, and HER20—will showcase their innovations at the 2016 Brain Trust Innovation Showcase in Washington, DC with leaders from industry, the Secretary of the VA, and the Under Secretary for Health for the VA.