Hack4Equity: Health Equity for Georgia’s Black Mothers


Q: What is a Hackathon?

A: It is an innovation challenge that calls creative thinkers and problem solvers to come together to solve a current problem and find solutions. Hackathon models vary significantly based on the business priorities and several key principles can guide the design and implementation of the model.

Q: What is a Hacker?

A: A participant in a hackathon that is seeking to find a solution to the problem at hand is known as a hacker. These participants will deep dive into solving the problem after teams are formed.

Q: Who should participate?

A: We encourage creative problem solvers, researchers, medical professionals, technology innovators, engineers, academics, and the community at large to come up with tangible and actionable solutions to close Georgia’s Black maternal health equity gaps.

Q: What is Health Equity?

A: Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

Q: Why is Hack4Equity focused on maternal health in Georgia?

A: There is a maternal health crisis in the U.S., and Black women are the most impacted. Black women in the U.S. die from complications due to pregnancy and birth at 3 to 4 times the rate of white women, making maternal health and mortality one of the deadliest racial disparities in women's health. This crisis is particularly devastating in Georgia.

The rates with which Black women die during or after giving birth in Georgia are simultaneously alarming and sobering. It is the state with the second highest maternal mortality rate with women in the state being more than 50% more likely to die in the first year after giving birth than women nationally. Sadly, it’s easy to understand why. Since 1994, more than 30 labor & delivery units have closed in the state, and more than half of Georgia’s counties have no OB-GYN care or services, leaving the women of Georgia to live in healthcare deserts, isolated from the care they need.

Q: What is expected of attendees?

A: As a Hacker, you will be part of a team working to innovate a solution for one of the four focus areas. Attendees are expected to actively participate in all three days of this virtual hackathon, bring their ideas and passion to the table, maintain a collaborative approach to problem solving and be prepared to help improve black maternal health equity in Georgia.

The team is going to be counting on you to be engaged and available so that everyone can be productive. Especially at this time, we understand that real life circumstances may come up, but we hope that you will communicate with your team and do your best to contribute to the overall effort.

Q: Is there any cost to participating in the virtual hackathon?

A: No. Our sponsor organizations have donated both resources and labor to make this event possible. Our Hackers, Coaches and Judges are likewise contributing their time, knowledge and skills to innovate solutions that will help improve black maternal health equity in Georgia.

Q: How are teams assembled?

A: Teams of 3-5 members will be self-assembled. Once you’ve joined the Hack4Equity Microsoft Teams, you can join a channel to meet others, join a team, and/or recruit team members. As a founder, you can post a short summary or video to pitch an idea and skills you’re looking for in team members. Those interested in joining your team can leave a comment. You will complete a single form per team to finalize your team on Friday, September 24.

Q: Do I need an idea to participate in the Hackathon?

A: We rarely have a shortage of ideas from other Hackers so you only need to come with your experience and knowledge around the topic or technology. The teams will work together to ideate creative solutions!

Q: If I know others attending, can we work together?

A: Yes, you’ll be able to join a team with specific people. If you still need to augment your team with other people with diverse skills, we’ll help you do that.

Q: What are the prizes?

A: Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams along with recognition for their innovations.

Q: What if I don’t have a team can I be added to one?

A: Yes, we can help add you to a team.

Q: Can I sign up to be a virtual coach?

A: We are providing a set of Coaches that will be available to all teams. If you have any number of skills, please join a solution team and contribute!

Q: Do I have to stay at the hackathon the entire weekend / until it officially ends?

A: Of course, we would like you to participate in the hackathon the entire time, but we understand that circumstances may require you to only participate at certain points throughout the weekend. That is ok. Just make sure your team is aware of your schedule because they are depending on you! Your team will likely struggle if you are not clear on your availability and commitment.

Q: Is it possible that the hackathon outcomes could lead to angel funding or a job?

A: The intent of this event isn’t to identify angel funding or provide job leads, but you are collaborating with others so the new relationships you form could help you in many ways. You will undoubtedly learn new, marketable skills by being an active participant.

Technical FAQs

Q: Do I need to use MS technologies to participate in the hackathon?

A: Teams is the only necessary tool from MS for collaboration purposes. However, the participants are not limited to only MS technologies to solve the challenges. We are utilizing Microsoft Teams to host the event kickoff and as a collaboration tool so you can participate in checkpoints, stay aware of announcements, and stay in touch with mentors.

Q: How do I download Microsoft Teams?

A: You can download Microsoft Teams from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/download-app. It is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Q: How can I access Microsoft Teams?

A: Check your email for a registration confirmation that includes a link to the Hack4Equity Microsoft Teams web application. Click the link and you will be prompted to sign in using your Microsoft Account details. Once you sign in, you should be able to view the Hack4Equity Microsoft Teams in your web browser. Microsoft Teams can only be assessed with work, school, or personal Microsoft account credentials. Please use the Microsoft email account that you registered with.

Q: What if I have technical issues downloading Microsoft Teams?

A: For this hackathon you do not need to download MS Teams as you would only be able to access the environment through a web-based teams. Go to: https://teams.microsoft.com/ and login with your MS email you registered with. (Supported Browsers)

Q: How can I create a free Microsoft account and email address?

A: Please click here to view instructions.

Q: What if I still have more questions?

A: Consider attending our Info Sessions and Workshops leading up to Hack4Equity to ask some of your questions in real time to our Hack4Equity organizer team! Contact us: [email protected]