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Healthy Competition: Pitt Launches Healthcare Video Challenge

Healthcare providers often urge patients to be more involved in their own care, and now the University of Pittsburgh has begun a $300,000 competition to encourage people to show how they take charge.

Pitt Innovation Challenge, PInCh, would like people from all over to submit a two-minute video, by March 2, citing a health problem, such as high blood pressure, and create a solution that challenges people to take control of their healthcare.

“The goal is to stimulate innovation and create groups of folks working together who maybe haven’t worked before, and our focus is really on health," said John Maier, director of research and development in Pitt’s School of Medicine. "We want to have innovation that tangibly improves human health, in a way that we can see and appreciate.”

The videos do not have to be highly produced. Instead, PInCh is looking for something that simply states the problem and comes up with a solution. On its website, people can even learn how to make a video out of PowerPoint, because PInCh wants everyone with an idea to be able to submit it.

“Our hope is to use this to get them a little bit out of that box and get a little bit less afraid of taking that risk, and ideally it will help people to think a little differently about their work and bring some of their creativity out,” Maier said.

A panel of judges will review the video submissions and then pick finalists to present their ideas to PInCh.  Three winners will be chosen to receive $100,000 each to develop their idea.

“If your solution is some sort of an app or a computer program that is an interesting interface, you could spend that money to get a prototype developed. It’s not going to be the full solution but if you can make progress, you can get to the next level of having that solution having a tangible benefit,” said Maier.

Maier realized that “even if you don’t win one of the awards, it might catch someone’s eye."

"It might be that your idea is interesting to someone who’s got a foundation grant that wants to move your project forward, or there may be an investor who says well you know well that’s something we can work with them to turn it into a product,” he said.

PInCh plans to have the final competition in May and the public is invited to attend or vote online for their favorite project.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.