It was an honor to be among the selected as a participant in the MIT COVID19 Challenge: Beat the Pandemic. To be one of the 1,500 participants out of 5,000 applicants was exciting. It was a 48-hour virtual hackathon to develop solutions that address the most pressing technical, social, and financial issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The opportunity to communicate with so many talented participants, along with 250+ mentors from 75+ countries, was incredible. The virtual event started on Friday, April 3, at 6:00 PM and ended on Sunday, April 5, 6:00 PM; the energy throughout was unreal. The event was open to professionals and students from a wide range of backgrounds from all over the world.

The 1,500 participants were divided into 200 teams to work online, around the clock, to showcase their ideas to reduce the impact caused by this pandemic. I had the pleasure of working with a culturally diverse and professional team to create HCoP – CoVoid, an accessible platform for hospital collaboration ensuring emerging pandemic readiness for triage, treatment protocols, and operational strategies.

Though the competition has ended, and unfortunately, our team was not among the final winners, the experience and relationships kindled were well worth giving up the weekend. The journey has just begun.

My motivation to join was plain and straightforward. Empathy – the pandemic itself is motivation enough to want to do something to help in any way, shape, or form possible. Every person on Earth is being affected by the Coronavirus, either from illness or from the impacts on their livelihoods. I am glad not to have missed out on an opportunity for me not to feel helpless and put my knowledge and expertise to good use.

Congratulations to all of the winners, may you find success in achieving your goals to mitigate the effects of this pandemic and ensure readiness for what may come next.

Kudos to the #MITvsCOVIDChallenge organizing team and judges for putting on a well-organized event.  And thank you to the AscendTek leadership for pulling me into this program.  I am definitely looking forward to participating in many more!

Let’s all continue to do our part and stay home, wash our hands regularly, and practice social distancing.  By following the guidelines set forth by the WHO and CDC, we can flatten the curve and get ahead of this crisis.