Students shine in UNF MedNexus Innovation Challenge

Twenty-four teams with a total of 86 students submitted applications and their ideas for the inaugural MedNexus Innovation Challenge earlier this month. The competition, sponsored by the University of North Florida along with the city of Palm Coast and Flagler Schools was held in the Community Wing of Palm Coast’s City Hall. The competition opened in August to all Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia County high school students. The top six teams worked with and were mentored by UNF, Impower and AdventHealth professionals.

The MedNexus Innovation Challenge is a team-based entrepreneurship competition that showcased top regional high school students tasked to pitch their solutions to Florida’s evolving healthcare needs. The areas of focus included Advancing Telemedicine, Mental Health, and Soft Skills.

The Master of Ceremonies was Matt Graifer and the competition began with opening statements by Executive Director and CEO of MedNexus Dr. David Szymanski, Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, and Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Middelstadt.

Each team was given seven minutes to pitch their ideas to the panel of judges, which followed with up to three minutes of questions and answers. The judges for the competition were Dr. Cynthia Williams, director for the Center of Aging at UNF; David Ferguson, SCORE Director for Palm Coast ; Flagler County Economic Manager Delores Key; Flagler Schools Head of Teaching and Learning LaShakia Moore; and Alfin. The advanced television production class from Flagler Palm Coast High School volunteered to film to event.

“These six teams of students are focused on technology careers with concepts beyond anything we could have ever imagined,” Alfin said. “They represent our brightest, most highly motivated students who believe their futures lie right here in Palm Coast. And I’m proud that they epitomize what will soon become our new community of innovators.”

Pitch Team Summaries and Winning Teams:

Doc Talk – First Place Winner: An app that allows students or professionals to practice the necessary soft skills required for their healthcare specialty. App features include mentor communication, practice system, quizzes, and automated voice responses.

Flagler Palm Coast High School Team Members: Team Captain Chloe Kaczmarek, Co-Captain Natalie Quintanilla, and Madison Bianco

Holodrone – Second Place Winner: A holographic technology software for existing medical drones. When a medical drone arrives with supplies in emergency situations, the Holodrone software allows the recipient to press a button which projects a three-dimensional image and video of a professional explaining how to use the equipment.

Flagler Palm Coast High School Team Members: Team Captain Lizelle Pear, Co-Captain Roymara Louissaint, Christina Nguyen, Jared Foley, Destiny Ruiz

Luna Care – Third Place Winner: A platform that improves virtual patient-physician interactions and encourages diverse patient populations by allowing users to explore health care specialists based on wants and needs. Users can be matches by a variety of criteria such as race, insurance, language, and medical history, reviews, etc.

Creekside High School Team Members: Team Captain Ryan Flack, Co-Captain Ashlea Stanley, Helen Do, Ayushi Elhence, Alyssa Buckingham

Endovelicus: The first product from Endovelicus will be the Ho1 (Health Optimizer 1.0) patch. The device is a small permanent patch that attaches externally to a user’s back so it can track data and compare changes in the body from seconds to years. Predictive algorithms use the collected data to generate health forecasts for the user and also improve the quality of predictions for others.

Flagler Palm Coast High School Team members: Bryan Soudrain, Dylan Long, Daniel Skinner, Dani Nieves, and Shellsea Ibarra

Sound Health Now: The medical music mentors TeleHealth Portal and Physical Acoustic Dome site will create an optimal acoustic environment for the best exchange of communicative sound therapeutic techniques hoping to reduce or eliminate medications and their side effects.

Christmas Monastery School Online Team Members: Carol Bacha and Eric Williams on behalf of non-verbal students

Ventor: An app that allows users struggling with mental health to talk with peers anonymously or chat with a therapist online 24 hours a day. Some special features include an emergency button and an exercise program.

Flagler Palm Coast High School Team members: Shiffa Ali, Zachary Soares, Darek Mahlenbrock, and William Barrick

The top three winning teams won scholarship money to further their education. Each member of the third-place team won $750; each member of the second-place team won $1,250; and each member of the first-place team won $1,500.