Mar 21, 2013 6:10 PM by MELISSA CANONE

Health care solutions, economic development aim of CajunCodeFest 2.0

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's CajunCodeFest 2.0 will be highlighted by a 27-hour coding competition for developing new health care technology.

Speakers in healthcare and technology, an economic development roundtable discussion and social events, including a crawfish boil, will also be part of the second-year event, from April 24-26 at the Cajundome. Software programmers and engineers, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, educators and undergraduate and graduate students will take part.

CajunCodeFest 2.0 is organized by UL Lafayette's Center for Business and Information Technologies, which started the event last year based on collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

The purpose of CajunCodeFest 2.0 is to showcase and optimize Lafayette's entrepreneurial culture, fiber optic capabilities and health care industry, said Cian Robinson, associate director for the Center for Business and Information Technologies. "We're looking to do a local roundtable where we talk about health care information technology, workforce development and the needs of employers," he said.

Speakers at CajunCodeFest 2.0 will include: Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology; Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Bruce Greenstein, secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; and Greg Trahan, director of business development for Louisiana Economic Development.

For the coding competition, teams of up to seven members will analyze data, brainstorm ideas and create digital prototypes. The data will be used to create solutions that encourage patients to "Own Your Own Health."

"We're going to give them data sets in two different formats so they can pick whatever technology they want to use to solve the problem," Robinson said.
The first-place team wins $25,000, but coming up with the best health care solution requires a complete team effort, he added. Other honors include for Best Student Team and Best Use of Microsoft HealthVault Technology.

"Application development isn't just done by software developers. There has to be a person who understands the marketing, who understands the marketplace need," Robinson said.

More than 275 people from three countries, 15 states and 40 cities attended last year. Of those, 45 were participants in the health care coding competition, 94 were health and information technology professionals, 42 were entrepreneurs and 35 were students.

This year, Robinson said he would like to see more students take part in the coding competition or attend CajunCodeFest 2.0 simply to network.

"This kind of event creates the opportunity to build relationships," he said.

CajunCodeFest 2.0 happens in conjunction with Innov8, an eight-day initiative of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. Innov8 includes conferences, workshops and other events, such as science, research and engineering exhibits at University Research Park.

"Visitors get to see our community and that creates opportunity for economic development," Robinson said.

Festivale Internationale de Louisiane, which features the music, food and culture of Louisiana, Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean and the Americas, also happens at the same time as CajunCodeFest 2.0.

People who want to take part in the coding competition but are unable to assemble a team can register individually, but must attend a "team building" session on April 24.

For more information, including how to become a sponsor or register, visit www.cajuncodefest.org or Email info@cajuncodefest.org or call (337) 482-0627.
Follow the buzz @CajunCodeFest or #CCF2 or on Facebook www.facebook.com/CajunCodeFest or visit the CBIT YouTube channel for videos of last year's event. http://www.youtube.com/user/CBITULLAFAYETTE

About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second-largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It's a public institution that awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes - Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns - compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.



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