Tuesday, September 29, 2020

MIT Hacking Racism Challenge Partners with Black Tech Matters

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Nationwide -- The MIT Hacking Racism Listening Summit in partnership with Black Tech Matters took place during the weekend of September 26 and 27, in advance of the MIT Hacking Racism in Healthcare hackathon on October 16-18. The hackathon sought to identify and tackle systemic health inequities, which impact underrepresented and vulnerable racial groups.

Led by Angel Rich and Yusuf Henriques, Black Tech Matters aims to expand inclusion in STEM entrepreneurship, education, and employment through tech equity, community activism, and policy.

“We are grateful to have such great cultural partners join our movement such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the National African American Association of Honors Program representing over 25 HBCUs, as well as top corporations that quickly supported our cause such as JP Morgan Chase Advancing Black Pathways, Microsoft, United Healthcare, and others. We are especially thankful to the DC Mayor’s Office for embracing this initiative across the city and MIT for being bold enough to tackle this public health crisis while being sensitive enough to involve the right cultural stakeholders,” said Angel Rich, founder of Black Tech Matters.

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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Ph.D., Founder, President, and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, led a fireside chat on day One of the Listening Summit. Cummings is a recognized expert on creating and implementing social change strategies for corporate, philanthropic, non-profit, academic, and governmental organizations and will speak on the topic of racism as a public health issue.

The Listening Summit brought together over 30 subject matter experts from diverse backgrounds, from fintech and healthcare entrepreneurs to thought leaders in data science and the arts.

“The goal of this pre-hackathon listening summit, was to begin the conversation around these challenging and complex issues, to hear from our stakeholders and partners, and to engage with potential participants and mentors,” shares Freddy Nguyen, MD Ph.D., Director of the MIT Hacking Racism in Healthcare Initiative and postdoctoral fellow at MIT. “By creating this safe space to have an open conversation and at the same time dig deeper to learn about the nuances and intricacies of these issues, we hope to be able to create a community of informed individuals and stakeholders ready to tackle these issues during the hackathon weekend on October 16-18.”

The first day ended with a Panel and Town Hall: How to Say Goodbye to Racism in Public Health, moderated by Forbes the Culture’s Rashaad Lambert, CNN correspondent April Ryan, and Angel Rich.

This weekend’s agenda also included panel discussions on critical topics such as biased data used for healthcare policy, maternal health, education, and healthcare innovation in the black community, and also pathways of reducing healthcare disparities between minorities. To learn more about both the listening summit and the hackathon, visit https://hackingracism.mit.edu.

The official October 16-18th hackathon offers the opportunity for collaboration and creation of viable solutions that can evolve into new start-up organizations that can transform the healthcare industry. Participants from any professional or racial background, with a passion for healthcare equity and social justice, are welcomed to apply. Health hackathons are being used by an increasingly wide range of organizations to solve tough and diverse healthcare problems and harness future business opportunities. MIT’s hackathon sponsors include Microsoft, Black Tech Matters, United Healthcare, Anthem, and a number of HBCUs.

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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