UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Computer Sciences | Health Information Technology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Infectious Disease | Public Health


A hackathon is best described as an 'innovation marathon'. Derived from the words 'hacking' and 'marathon', it brings together multidisciplinary teams to collaborate intensely over a short period of time to define a problem, devise a solution, and design a working prototype. International scientific meetings are conducive to successful hackathons, providing an audience of expert professionals who describe challenges and ensure the proposed solutions address end-user needs. Collaborations with local organizations and academic centers are crucial to attracting complementary specialties such as IT advisors, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable projects. The core process of first identifying and deconstructing a problem followed by solution iteration is applicable to challenges at workplaces around the world. Ultimately, this model can be used to drive innovation and catalyze change in the global health community. The planning, execution, and outcomes of a hackathon event organized in conjunction with the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance (IMED 2016) are described in this article. Physicians, public health practitioners, veterinarians, IT professionals, engineers, and entrepreneurs came together for 2 days to develop solutions at the intersection of emerging infectious diseases and climate change. Projects that resulted from the IMED 2016 Hackathon included environmental impact assessment software for humanitarian organization relief efforts; enhanced communication tools to prevent disease outbreaks; a participatory mobile application to speed the elimination of rabies in Indonesia; integrated disease surveillance platforms; and an improved search function for infectious disease outbreak reports in the ProMED-mail network.


Emerging infectious diseases, Hackathon, Infectious diseases, Innovation, Interdisciplinary, Medical meeting, Public health

Rights and Permissions

© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI of Published Version



Int J Infect Dis. 2017 Dec;65:93-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2017.09.025. Epub 2017 Oct 7. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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