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Students tackle challenge of future health

12 August 2021

Canterbury tertiary students have come up with innovative ideas to reimagine New Zealand’s healthcare system.


Future of Health Challenge first place team members Conner Gullett, Anneke Lockhart, Greta Evans and Caleb Demegilio-Rose, with judge Peter Townsend, Independent Chair of Te Papa Hauora.

The Future of Health Challenge was hosted by the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE), in partnership with Te Papa Hauora: Christchurch Health Precinct.

The popular event, part of the UCE Disrupt Challenge Series, gave more than 50 students, in teams of four or five, 48 hours to brainstorm creative ideas that could help transform primary healthcare, the future of nursing education and learning, or build a bridge between health and wellbeing.

Speed mentoring sessions with business and health industry experts supported teams during the challenge, which was held at the Canterbury District Health Board’s Design Lab earlier this month.

The first-place winning team was ‘Mātauranga’, from the University of Canterbury, which scooped a prize of $2500. The team members; Master of Health Sciences students Greta Evans, Caleb Demegilio-Rose and Conner Gullett, and Bachelor of Product Design student Anneke Lockhart, worked on a solution for the future of nursing. Their proposal involved triaging education to provide regionalised healthcare with micro-credentials for nursing specialisation.

Other solutions put forward by successful teams included a wrist-based smart dashboard for nurses working on the ward that integrates all patient, ward, scheduling and hospital data; a mood tracking app that gamifies wellbeing and enables people to grow their own wellbeing garden; and a recipe sharing app to promote healthy eating and reduce rates of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Judges Peter Townsend, Independent Chair of Te Papa Hauora Advisory Council, and Mark Liddle, Pegasus Health Chief Executive were so impressed by the final presentations that the prize pool was doubled to $6000 to be shared between the four winning teams.

Many of the participants are considering joining UCE’s Summer Startup Programme to progress their ideas, with applications now open.

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