Alum Wins CAMTech Award in Opioid Epidemic Challenge

Posted on: February 8, 2019 Topics: alumni honors, alumni news, Global Health, practice

School of Public Health alum Chia-Ying Wendy Lin (SPH’17) was part of a team that won a Community Engagement Award at the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technology’s (CAMTech) Empire State Opioid Epidemic Demo Day last month.

The Demo Day competition was the third segment of the Empire State Opioid Epidemic Innovation Challenge, an initiative of the CAMTech Accelerator Program (CAP), which provides support for early-stage global health technologies that aim to improve health outcomes in low and middle-income countries. The competition showcased progress that participating groups made after creating solutions to curb the national opioid crisis at the challenge’s previous two events, the Challenge Summit and Solutions Sprint, held in September 2018. During the summit, participants from the fields of public health, medicine, government, and the private sector engaged in discussions on the opioid epidemic, followed by a 48-hour period during the Solutions Sprint to develop an innovation that addresses the epidemic.

Lin’s nine-member team, dubbed Team Recover-We, impressed a cross-disciplinary panel of expert judges by creating a widget that offers compassion and recovery resources for substance misuse in an online format. Lin, who studied global health and is currently a procurement planning and monitoring report analyst for the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program, says her group was inspired to create the widget because of the frustration that people often experience when seeking help on overcoming substance misuse.

“Recover-We designed a platform for anonymous live chat with peers that have personal experience with substance use recovery, to help information seekers navigate services, and provide them with compassionate support,” she says.  “In the past few months, we ran pilots in Rochester, N.Y., and had monthly meetings with Google in hopes that the live chat can be integrated within the searches.”

For winning the award, CAP will continue to provide six months of support to Team Recover-We for their project. The team plans to explore business models and funding sources, build the widget’s platform, recruit more peer navigators, and run more pilots to identify better ways to provide localized information to its users. Lin says she is looking forward to continue working with her teams,

“Everyone provides unique perspectives on redesigning our product and services as we learn more about things to consider, such as liability and volunteer management,” Lin says. “I think we have really identified an unmet need that can benefit from a platform like this, and this is what keeps us going.”

Jillian McKoy

2 comments

  1. Congratulations to Chia-Ying and her team. This demonstrates one way to achieve breakthroughs — getting bright, talented, and determined people together to address urgent health challenges. It will be good for the school to consider how to keep fostering this kind of innovation — integrating some of these competition and team-based approaches to problem solving.

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