Save the Date — NYS Health Data Code-A-Thon!


The New York State Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with Health Research, Incorporated, health care organizations and industry leaders, health IT companies, as well as other government partners and stakeholders will support a first-of-its-kind New York State Health Data Code-a-thon, with the theme “Healthy Connections = Healthy Communities.” The event will take place December 19-20, 2013 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s state-of-the-art Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and bring together program experts, data experts, public health providers, academia, and other public health stakeholders with tech gurus and app developers for a “technology brainstorming session,” using DOH open health data and other valuable data.

The purpose of the event is to generate ideas on how to use data to help New Yorkers prevent the development of obesity and diabetes. Ignite talks will run concurrently with the code a thon and will focus on the importance of open data, critical community work and interventions, as well as important advice from health/data experts from across the country. The New York State Health Data Code-a-thon is a key component of a longer three to six month New York State Health Innovation Challenge envisioned for 2014 – which together will spark new innovative thinking around the twin epidemic of obesity and diabetes. The two events will assist New Yorkers to make “healthy connections” that lead to “healthy communities.”

In the current climate, where our nation is wrestling with a twin epidemic of obesity and diabetes, public health has an obligation to expand awareness of these conditions, and to make a serious effort to stem the rise in their prevalence. But public health officials are also well aware that reducing the risk for becoming overweight or obese and developing type 2 diabetes requires that patients take charge of their health. Both conditions are chronic diseases that require lifelong management by the patient. In fact, a full 95% of chronic disease care occurs outside the health care system. When people can take charge of their food choices and adopt a more active lifestyle, they can reduce the risk for overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes and other associated health risks.

These strategies are in direct alignment with the state’s Prevention Agenda, a bold initiative adopted with the goal to make New York the healthiest state in the nation. A key goal in this agenda is the prevention of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. In New York, 24.6 percent of adults are obese and another 35.6 percent are overweight. Obesity is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases, chief among them type 2 diabetes.  In New York State more than 1.5 million (10.4 percent) adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and an estimated 3.7 to 4.2 million (25-30 percent) adult New Yorkers have prediabetes. People with prediabetes are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and are also at increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and eye disease.

The New York State Health Code-a-thon provides a critical opportunity to meet these challenges as we strive to build “Healthy Connections = Healthy Communities.” The ideas that come out of this event have the potential to help change the way New York State tackles obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Similar events have generated fresh, innovative thinking. The goal is to create a level of excitement that will drive continued engagement between stakeholders for the subsequent 2014 Health Innovation Challenge, as well as far into the future.

Please visit for additional details about the New York State Health Data Code-a-thon.


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