Since 2020, the Office of Global Health Initiatives and UB's Blackstone LaunchPad have collaborated to offer a virtual innovation sprint each fall.
On Fri., Nov. 19, 2021, the GECO / More Access, Better Buffalo team won first place in the OGHI's and Blackstone's 2021 Climate-Health Innovation Sprint, with their pitch that would expand access and routes of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to lower pollution and support a healthier Buffalo.
Team Green for Erie was comprised of (below, left to right) Qamar Saitovski, undergraduate psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences; Nabha Karunakar, graduate student in management information systems, School of Management; Sabrina Rahman, MPH student in biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Professions.
The panel of experts from academia and the community generously donated their time to judge the Innovation Sprint.
The student teams were tasked with making a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine available and providing accurate information about it.
Team 3 pitched a "Vac-to-Normal" campaign to win the COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge on Nov. 20, 2020.
Team members Ray Huang (Public Health/Psychology), Kelly Law (MPH), Steven Gabriel (MBA/MPH), Ritika Bhajiawala (Biological Sciences) and Oluwademilade Daniel Aguda (Biotechnology) won the virtual Innovation Sprint on Nov. 20.
Team 3's "Vac-to-Normal" pitch emphasized health disparities in Western New York, with particular attention paid to the African American and Native American communities in the region. Team 3's hypothetical approach was to partner with community leaders, the Department of Health, experts from UB, small business owners, the Buffalo Bills and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. They also stressed the potential of mobile clinics, and even food trucks, for making the vaccine readily available and equitably distributed.
Second Place: Team 4 “Power Vaxxers
Mridu Moitra (Biomedical Engineering), Maisha Rahman (Public Health), Supriya Mahajan (MPH), Sadia Rifah (Public Health) and Lianne Novak (MPH) of Team 4 were runners-up.
Our first and second place teams faced fierce competition.
Team 1 "#VaxUp"
Nelli Kisliuk (Public Health), Ali Attai (Computer Science), Parveen Attai (Epidemiology MPH), Crystal Asabor (Public Health), Asiya Mohamed (French), Maia Weiss (Biology).
Team 2 “Vital Consultants”
Gabriel Attallah (EMBA, M.D.), Anjali Bhagavatula (Biotech), Nicole LoCascio (MPH), Ashiqi Shaji (Public Health), Paige Sinsebox (MPH).
The panel of seven experts from academia, health care and community organizations generously donated their time to judge the Innovation Sprint.
The "COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge" virtual Innovation Sprint was sponsored by the Office of Global Health Initiatives and UB's Blackstone LaunchPad & TechStars.
The student teams were tasked with addressing health problems exacerbated by climate change while creating more sustainable, healthy, equitable communities.