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Fresh Ideas for Better Health Care Earn Cash Awards for New Jersey College Students in Second Annual Horizon Health Care Transformation Challenge

(December 12, 2018, Newark, NJ) -- New apps, devices, models and innovations dominated six finalist presentations by undergraduate students from four New Jersey colleges eager to help Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) conquer three forms of health care challenges. A team from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) took top honors in the Second Annual Horizon Health Care Transformation Challenge. A total of $10,000 in prize money was awarded to the top teams.

“We created the Health Care Transformation Challenge to tap into the creative and forward-thinking minds of young people, and at the same time, encourage students to take a more active role in understanding and shaping health care,” said Douglas Blackwell, Senior Vice President and CIO for Horizon BCBSNJ and one of the presentation judges. “Our millennial innovators didn’t disappoint. All of the college students brought to the Challenge creative and original proposals, but a team from NJIT had the best idea and the most compelling presentation of this year’s competition.”

In this year’s Challenge, teams submitted proposals to address the following specific areas of health care: Mental/Behavioral Health; Disease Management; and Nutrition/Fitness, providing innovative care and engagement solutions. Out of 14 team submissions across seven New Jersey schools, six were presented as finalists to a panel of judges that included industry experts in marketing, technology and value-based care. The finalist teams included students from NJIT, Rutgers University, William Patterson University and Hudson County Community College.

First Place: Title/Team: “RiseOn.” College: NJIT. Description: An inclusive platform that simplifies Disease Management by combining transparent information with technology – specifically through the creation of a chatbot and a set of algorithms that can answer common questions and provide recommendations. Students: Yasmine Ghattas, Shreena Mehta, Yasmine Mohamed, and Naira Abou-Ghali. Cash Prize: $5,000

Second Place: Title/Team: “SimulaHealth.” College: NJIT. Description: An app that enables users to learn about behavioral health symptoms through creative and interactive programs, and how to access behavioral health insurance coverage. Students: Anna Vallejo, Nanditha Lakshmanan, and Sushni Mukkamalla. Cash prize: $3,000

Third Place: Title/Team: “New Horizons HCCC.” College: Hudson County Community College. Description: The creation of “New Horizon Campus Centers,” which are therapeutic hubs on college campuses where students can attend mental health seminars, receive counseling, meditate and socialize, all under one roof. Students: Joseph Brusini, Justin Daniels-Williams, and Cathryn Joy Purino. Cash prize: $2,000.

“It was intriguing to see how young adults view some of health care’s most complex problems,” said Mary Ann Christopher, MSN, RN, FAAN, Vice President for Community Health for Horizon BCBSNJ, and another Challenge judge. “There’s no better way to gain insight into practical ideas on health and wellness strategies for young adults than to look through the eyes of creative millennials,” she said.

More information about the Horizon Health Care Transformation Challenge can be found at https://hctc.horizonblue.com/.


About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.