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CajunCodeFest is once again tapping into Acadiana’s young, innovative talent to solve some of the nation’s most complicated issues.

Now in its sixth year, the code-a-thon challenge and its affiliated healthcare summit focused on the country’s growing opioid crisis.

“(We are looking to) not just contain the opioid issue, but to also prevent the unfortunate loss of life,” opened Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, vice president for research, innovation and economic development at the University. “All of us need to be pointed in the same direction in order to lead this transformation.”

For the Opioid Challenge, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Center for Business & Information Technologies recruited students — both K-12 and college — and professionals who were looking to build and present problem-solving applications related to the issue.

The competitors attended the Coding Kickoff ceremony on Friday, April 13, where health data sets were finally made available.

In total, there were 125 developers and innovators, or 20 teams: nine K-12 teams, six University teams, and five professional teams. The groups had about 24 hours to develop an app or tool that could affectively explore issues related to the epidemic’s usage, treatment and prevention.

Once the competition concluded the following day at noon, the teams presented their solutions to a nine-judge panel, composed of governmental agencies, private healthcare providers, software companies, academia, nonprofit research organizations, and healthcare payers.

The apps and tools were judged on their fit to the theme, the creativity behind the solution, the user experience they offered, and whether it was likely to be sustained because it could provide a clear benefit to the stakeholders. Winners were announced Saturday afternoon.

Team “myPillz” from Ovey Comeaux High School in Lafayette took home the number one prize of “Best Overall,” while also managing to win the “Best K-12 Team” category. Team members included: Prachi Rajiwadia, Thomas Nguyen, Noah Karavatakis, Cha’Kerra Lewis, and Jesse Breeland. Team mentors were Mike Davis and Lisa Ranney.

The app that the team developed connects to the National Drug Code Directory, which would help a user track his or her prescription drug usage. The real-time tracker flags opioid pills for user attention and offers guidance on proper dosage frequencies to avoid possible substance addiction. The streamlined user interface focuses on patient use and also addresses the needs of patients who get prescriptions from multiple doctors who do not cross communicate. The app could be extended to feed patient prescription data directly to doctors for reference during patient appointments.

The category of “Best College Team” finished in a tie between teams “Comp” and “const bool winner = true.”

Team “const bool winner = true” also won the “Team Favorite” category.

In addition to the code-a-thon, CajunCodeFest hosted its Opioid Healthcare Summit for local medical professionals and community members who were interested in joining in on the discussion. The summit, which also took place on Friday, brought together thought-leaders from federal and state levels who provided updates on initiatives, policies, and best-practices to address the issue.

The morning session’s panelists included U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Dr. Carrie Castille, state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for Louisiana; Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health; Dr. William “Beau” Clark, coroner for East Baton Rouge; and Bruce Greenstein, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our challenge is figuring out what can we do about (opioid addiction),” stated Cassidy, “and my hope is that we can use this sort of forum to find a solution for (these problems) and make them less likely to occur.”

Presentations were also made by the event’s sponsors: Lafayette General Health, CGI Federal, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

The afternoon session, a roundtable hosted by USDA and moderated by State Senator Fred Mills, Jr., focused on prevention, treatment and recovery.

Audience members heard from various platforms that included legal, legislative, and medical.

Jennifer Holmes, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes her practice in assisting individuals with substance use, addiction and recovery issues, addressed the issue from a unique perspective, as a person in long-term recovery, herself.

“This is a chronic, primary, and if left untreated, terminal disease,” she said after detailing her own struggles. “But recovery is possible, and with the right treatment, this disease can be put into permanent remission.”

In addition, other roundtable panelists included: 21st Judicial District Judge Blair Edwards, who works with the juvenile drug court in Tangipahoa, St. Helena and Livingston parishes; Dr. Vincent Culotta, Jr., chief obstetrics and gynecology at East Jefferson General Hospital; Karen Stubbs, assistant secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health at LDH; Randy Henagan, criminal fraud investigator for the Louisiana Attorney General’s office; Lee Jones, assistant state director for USDA Rural Development in Louisiana; and Dr. Estaban Gershanik, director of the Bureau of Health Informatics for the Office of Public Health in Louisiana.

Summit goers and competition coders were presented with the event’s tradition of crawfish boil at Abdalla Hall on Friday evening to kickoff the weekend’s events.

By Jessica Manfi, UL Lafayette 

CajunCodeFest 6.0 Names Opioid Healthcare Challenge Winners

(Lafayette, LA) The sixth annual CajunCodeFest coding competition and summit was held April 13 & 14, 2018 in the UL Lafayette Research Park presented by the Center for Business & Information Technologies.

The Opioid Healthcare Summit was Friday, April 13 at the LITE Center bringing together thought-leaders from federal and state levels who provided updates on initiatives, policies, and best practices to address this issue. Special guests included Bruce Greenstein, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, Congressman Clay Higgins, Louisiana’s Third District, Dr. Carrie Castille, State Director of Louisiana, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, The Hon. Judge Blair Edwards, 21st Judicial District Juvenile Drug Court, Dr. Vindell Washington, Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, and many other influential leaders.

The Opioid Healthcare Coding Challenge on Friday and Saturday at the Cecil J. Picard Center drew 150+ participants including eight K-12 teams, six university teams, five professional developer teams, mentors and subject matter experts working to transform health care data into opioid epidemic related apps and tools. 

The teams worked for 23 hours to find a solution using 361 unique health data sets  provided or informed by the CajunCodeFest data portal that they could access only three days in advance. Teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges with expertise in government, healthcare, and technology. The judging criteria focused on the solution’s fit to the theme, overall creativity, user experience, and sustainability with a clear benefit to the stakeholders.

The winning teams took home $11,000 in cash and the Best K-12 team won Apple iPads provided by the LHC Group.

2018 Winners

First Place Overall & Best K-12 Team representing Comeaux High – Team myPillz – Team members include Prachi Rajiwadia, Thomas Nguyen, Noah Karavatakis, Jesse Breeland and Cha’Kerra Lewis. Team mentors are Lisa Ranney and Mike Davis.

Best College Team (tie) – Team Comp – Team members include Robert Indorf, Austin Pohlmann, Nicholas Barreca, and Chad Galloway

Team Favorite & Best College Team (tie)– Team Const Bool Winners = True. Team members include Copeland Corley, Andrew Yoshimura, Ny Pham, and Zachary Kirby

The team of five students from Comeaux High School won the Best Overall Team and Best K-12 Team mentored by Lisa Ranney and Mike Davis. The Comeaux High team presented the myPillz app that connects to the National Drug Code Directory to help a patient track prescription drug usage. The real-time tracker flags opioid pills for user attention and offers guidance on proper dosage frequencies to avoid possible substance addiction. It also addresses the needs of patients who get prescriptions from multiple doctors. The app could be extended to feed patient prescription data directly to doctors for reference during patient appointments.

Thank you to event sponsors CGI, Lafayette General Health, LHC Group, Ocean’s Healthcare, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the Opportunity Machine, One Acadiana, Acadiana Companies and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Waitr and Simply Vital Health for making this event possible.

 

Opioid crisis focus of health care summit and coding competition

Software developers, health care professionals, students, and entrepreneurs will delve into a national opioid epidemic during CajunCodeFest 6.0, a health care summit and “code-a-thon” competition.

CajunCodeFest 6.0 will be held April 13-14 at two centers in University Research Park at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The health care summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13, at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center, 537 Cajundome Blvd. The free summit is open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

It will feature leaders from health care, higher education, law enforcement, industry and state and local government. They will give talks, presentations and conduct a roundtable session that will focus on opioid addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery.

Health care summit speakers will include:

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana;
  • Dr. Carrie Castille, rural development state director, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;
  • Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals;
  • Bruce Greenstein, chief technology officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana.


Opioids can include prescribed medications such as hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone that are often used to treat pain. Heroin, an illegal drug, is also an opioid.

According to statistics the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released late last year, opioids contributed to about 66 percent of the more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016.

During the coding contest, about 120 competitors on teams of up to six members will build tools designed to combat the opioid epidemic. They will create software or apps that address addiction and treatment. Registration for the contest has ended.

The code-a-thon will begin at noon on Friday, April 13, at the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning, 200 E. Devalcourt St. It will end the same time the next day. An awards ceremony will follow. Winners in several categories will earn cash and prizes.

In its sixth year, CajunCodeFest is coordinated by UL Lafayette’s Center for Business and Information Technologies.

CBIT research and development focuses on technology-driven innovations in areas such as health care, education, industry and workforce development.

Each year, a different health-related theme is the focus of the event. Past themes have included diabetes, aging and obesity.

Learn more about the event, speakers or register for the summit at www.cajuncodefest.org

Posted by UL Lafayette.

About CCF

The  annual CajunCodeFest Summit and Challenge, hosted by the Center for Business & Information Technologies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, focuses on a new  hot topic each year. The summit is open to the public and the challenge is open to all students and professionals with an innovative spirit. Teams use data to build apps and tools to win cash, prizes and bragging rights. 

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