Work by Gavin Behind The Scenes of a Rising Innovator

Global Oncology Hackathon: Most Implementable Prize!

Global Health and Oncology are two of the biggest challenges in the world today, and I was excited to go to a health hackathon at MGH to brainstorm projects to help clinicians in resource-poor settings. At the start, I pitched to the crowd a proposal to take the idea I had seen of a website called which lets inner-city teachers make wish lists of resources they would benefit the most from, and apply it to developing world clinics. A lot of people who liked the idea came together and over the course of 48 hours we solidified the idea and presented it to the judges. Our idea was to create an online platform called NeedsList that would allow healthcare providers in resource-poor regions abroad to share their healthcare needs (e.g., personnel, training, consumables, or equipment) with those who are interested in donating resources. We have seen that a lot of efforts to share resources or donate equipment aren’t focused on the actual on-the-ground needs of clinics in resource-poor settings. We want to empower healthcare providers to actually say what they need instead of receiving donations they can’t use. We ended up winning the "Most Implementable" prize and are busy now working as a team to connect with clinicians with Global Oncology who might be able to pilot test the project!

Mass General Global Health Cancer Hackathon

Massachussets Medical Society IT Award Winner!

After winning the MIT Critical Data Hackathon with my idea for a tool for doctors to find patients who presented similar to their own, I couldn't help but keep working on it in the evenings and weekends of my first year of medical school. Finding answers to questions like "What makes patients meaningfully similar?" and "What predicts future outcomes in patients" spurred my curiosity. I was very excited to present my work to the Massachussets Medical Society this past Monday as a finalist in the MMS IT award for medical students with medical software projects, and was honored to be given the award! I got a lot of great feedback and I really appreciate the support as I continue my investigation into the future of digital health support.

Read about Parallel Patients

MMS IT Award and past winners

Athena Health Hackathon

This past weekend I got a chance to visit a company who has been very active in improving tech in medicine, Athena Health, for their More Disruption Please: Emergency Medicine Hackathon! I went with three of my friends from HMS who had taken my Programming for Doctors class and were excited to learn more programming. We focused on trying to address the needs of people with high social determinants of health who often go to Emergency Departments because they don’t have the money or time to regularly schedule Primary Care appointments. We knew about mobile care vans which provide free primary care in disadvantaged communities, like the Family Van started by our own Dean Nancy Oriol, and we wanted to help connect community care with patients in emergency departments. In order to do this, we made a website which takes in your home location and makes a custom map of resources in your area and when they are available. Doctors could give this info to patients who could benefit from it. We had a great time and were inspired by all the other projects as well! We plan on contacting the Family Van after this and learning more about how to help them. No prizes this time but friendship, free food, and inspiration!

Athena Health More Disruption Please Hackathon

Teaching "Programming for Doctors" to my HMS Classmates

At Harvard Med, I have loved how people not only come from very diverse backgrounds and experiences, but also people have been hosting their own talks and teaching others about issues that they care about and have experience with. Inspired by these talks (on Public Health, Global Health, etc) I decided to put together a short 2 hour crash-course called “Programming for Doctors: how to join the global tech community” to teach people in our class who have no experience with programming how to program and how it can help them in the medical field. The core message was that the way that the tech community works together is through APIs which allow you to stand on the shoulders of giants and build on top of work other people have done. You can see my presentation slides (made to be a handy reference for attendees for later) below. I capped the first session to 15 people to make it manageable, and it went so well and there was so much interest that I held the same session again with a different group of 15 people and some people from the first group came back as mentors! I don’t plan on having a follow-up class because the next step is for people to come up with their own project ideas and I have offered to mentor them through the difficult starting period :). Some people have taken me up on this already!

See the class material

Harvard-MIT Critical Datathon Win!

This weekend I went to a Data-focused Hackathon run by HST which is a partnership between the Harvard Medical School and MIT. This hackathon was focused on the really cool open research database called MIMIC-3 of the anonymized records of 40K+ patients who visited the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This was a perfect opportunity for me to try to create my idea for a system which shows doctors medical histories of patients who presented similarly to their current patient. This could help doctors discover things to consider about their own patients, or learn what are common associated problems to watch out for. I was inspired by this when I shadowed an Orthopedic Pediatric Surgeon in the Clinic who had a book of cases which he easily pulled up a rare case from which was similar to the kid who had just come in. I wanted to use technology to make this kind of valuable resource available to even new doctors like my future self. A friend of mine named Sean Wang from HMS joined my team and we built a prototype in just two days, and won the hackathon! Excited to continue working on this project in the future as there are many ways I could go with it.

More about the Critical Data Hackathon

The MIMIC-III Anonymous Patient Database we used

MIT Breathe Hackathon Patient's Choice winner!

I had a wonderful time at the MIT Breathe hackathon this weekend!! Meeting patients with COPD and creating a working prototype of a wearable O2 sensor you can clip on your ear and get alerts when your levels are low was wonderful! Met so many new people who were entrepreneurs, nurses, physical therapists, patients, students, and everyone had a mission which brought us together. Thanks to Spire for awarding us their prize, and thanks to the patients for choosing us for the patients choice award! Loved seeing all the other great ideas as well, it was a very inspirational community, and I loved all the resources in the MIT Media Lab.

Press Release about COPD Cope winning Patients Choice

Harvard White Coat Ceremony

In a wonderful symbolic entrance to the medical field, I received my Harvard Med white coat last week with my new classmates. We also met our first patients together, two incredible people with their doctors who were open and sharing of their incredible stories and answered our questions earnestly. My parents came to the ceremony too and we got a chance to explore Boston a bit together after helping me move into the dorm here! It’s crazy how I’m right across the street from my classes and surrounded by all sides by incredible hospitals and medical centers. All of us have been getting to know each other over the past week in large and small groups discussing what we think being a doctor means and should mean. We also all wrote letters to our future graduating selves about values we want to hold on to, which will be fun to look back on! Very exciting times!

See Pictures from the HMS White Coat Ceremony

I am going to Harvard Medical School!

It’s official, I will be going to Harvard Medical School in the Fall of 2015!! Wow, thank you to all of my family, friends, mentors, and professors who helped me achieve this dream. I’m so excited to be learning medicine at some of the best hospitals in the country affiliated with HMS such as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital. When I went to Harvard’s Revisit weekend, I was blown away by how down to earth and passionate all of the faculty and fellow students were, and what a rich diversity of experiences everyone brings with them. I’m one of about 30% not taking a gap year between college and med school, but I’m looking forward to my “Gap Summer” as a Software Engineering Intern on the Medical Knowledge team at Google in California!

Read about Harvard Med's New Flipped Curriculum