$100,000 in Awards to Finalists for the 2013 Prize for Primary Healthcare

$100,000 in Awards to Finalists for the 2013 Prize for Primary Healthcare 150 150 IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine (JTEHM)

BOSTON—Ten awards of $10,000 each are going out to student teams across the country for their innovative technology ideas to improve quality and efficiency at the frontlines of the healthcare system. These teams have been selected as the 10 Finalists in the national competition for the 2013 Student Technology Prize for Primary Care. The selected teams will be able to use these funds to develop a final proposal over the next few months, as they compete for three top spots, with a total of $300,000 in additional funds.
The goal of this competition is to stimulate and sponsor the development of truly innovative technology to support the efforts of primary-care practitioners serving the most significant needs of their patients. This year’s competition was one of the strongest in the five-year history of this Prize, drawing entries from 65 outstanding teams of graduate and undergraduate students in 30 of the top engineering programs in the country.


The leaders of the student teams who have been selected as finalists are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Alexander Abraham and Brian Cummins (co-leaders), Texas A&M University: “An Innovative Implantable Biosensor for Continuous Blood-Glucose Monitoring”
Andrew Brimer, and Abigail Cohen (co-leaders), Washington University in St. Louis: “Low-Cost Spirometer Designed to Revolutionize Asthma Management via Patient Empowerment”
Allen Cheng, MIT: “Smart Automated Medication Dispenser: Driving Medical Adherence through Patient-Inspired Engineering”
Anmol Chopra, Johns Hopkins University: “Rapid MDR-TB Diagnostic for Peripheral Facilities in the Developing World”
Hasitha Dharmasiri, Rice University: “mobileSpiro: A Portable System for Accurate, User-Friendly Spirometry
Nga Ho, Boston University: “A highly sensitive, point-of-care, multiplexed virus-detection platform for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C”
Guillermo Monroy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: “Quantitative Depth-Resolved Otoscopy”
Sylvia Natividad, University of California, Berkeley: “A Novel, Low-Cost Approach to Magnetic Cell Sorting for HIV Monitoring”
Jacob Trueb, Boston University: “Microchip Cartridge for Point-of-Care Allergy Diagnostics”
Shawn Wen, MIT: “PortaTherm: A Novel, Electricity-free Typhoid and Paratyphoid Diagnostic System for Resources-Limited Primary Healthcare Settings”


This unique national competition is open to graduate and undergraduate engineering students from accredited engineering programs. It is administered by CIMIT and the “Ambulatory Practice of the Future” at MGH. The competition solicits ideas for technologic innovation with the potential to support and catalyze improved delivery of healthcare at the frontlines of medicine. Each of these ten Finalists was chosen after thorough review of all 65 submissions. Reviewers comprised a distinguished panel of technologists and primary-care clinicians, evaluating the entries in terms of their fit with the goals of the Prize and their level of innovation and technical excellence.
The Finalists will be able to use their $10,000 awards as additional resources to advance their work more effectively. They will each prepare a more complete final submission, due by June 3.  Those ten will then be judged for selection of three top-prize winners. First prize will be $150,000, with second and third place receiving $100,000, and $50,000 respectively.
In announcing these selections, Ronald Newbower, PhD, Co-Founder of CIMIT and Director of this competition, stated, “We are delighted with the quality of the entries this Prize competition has elicited each year from around the country. These students are clearly eager to develop innovative technologies to address key challenges in healthcare. The winners of our awards are undoubtedly headed toward truly significant careers and may well serve as role models for others in their field. We are proud to recognize and support their efforts.”
The Prize for Primary Healthcare is made possible through a generous gift from the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust, and administered by CIMIT and MGH.
Additional information about this competition can be found here. Information about CIMIT’s partner in management of the competition, the “Ambulatory Practice of the Future” at Massachusetts General Hospital, can also be found online.