Students take third at health design challenge

AMITA Health Design ChallengeSleep gave way to innovation for three Harper College students during the recent two-day AMITA Health Design Challenge at Arlington International Racetrack.

Dylan Giesel (math/nursing), Darren Buchanan (graphic and fashion design) and Patrick Nora (nursing) came together to compete against 11 other teams to develop and pitch solutions around the issue of aging.

The 24-hour brainstorming session paid off for Harper’s team, which bested several other four-year colleges and universities to finish tied for third place.

Nora said the “two nonstop caffeine-fueled days of design” were a lot of work but extremely rewarding, adding that everyone contributed to the effort.

“Darren worked tirelessly to help make our design innovative, original and our presentation itself impeccably professional,” said Nora, who will graduate in December. “Dylan worked persistently from the view of needs of the older adult, and drove home the importance of connection in the community. I truly tried to take all the lessons I learned in the RN program to put the patient first and develop a realistic policy to enhance and further develop preventative care measures.”

The proposal that Harper’s team pitched to the panel of judges is a community-based, volunteer-driven program that aims to bring together older patients who want to get out of their house and reconnect with the community.

Patients wouldn’t have to pay anything, but they would have to work toward a series of health goals and participate in activities such as healthy cooking classes, low-impact exercise and teaching children. Communities would fund a monthly charter bus to transport them around.

The program, the students believe, would reinforce wellness, help patients with preventative health and reduce readmission rates.

“We have the power to put the dignity, which has been lost through the ravages of time, back into the hands of our local senior population while simultaneously fortifying their longevity and putting the ‘community’ back into community health,” the team wrote.

The two teams from the School of the Art Institute placed first and second in the health design challenge. The University of Illinois-Chicago tied with Harper.

Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159

Last Updated: 11/3/21