Detroit Urban Healthcare AI Challenge 2023 Recap

Dec 21, 2023 | News

By: Dr. Philip Olla

The Detroit Urban Healthcare AI Challenge 2023, hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), was a groundbreaking event that brought together over 200 participants, both online and in person, for two days of intensive innovation in healthcare technology. The event’s format was designed to foster collaboration, interactive learning, and practical problem-solving, with an emphasis on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into urban health challenges. An impressive lineup of mentors and judges hailing from Amazon, Rediminds, Accenture, Lawrence Technical University, and the MedHealth Consortium were there providing guidance, constructive feedback, and industry expertise.

Marked by significant milestones and collaborative efforts, with a key highlight being the exploration of strategic partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the event aimed to develop an Innovation Hub at UDM in conjunction with the College of Health Professions and the College of Engineering & Science, leading to groundbreaking advancements in healthcare and technology.

Event Format and Highlights

Day 1

  • Opening Ceremony: The event kicked off with an inspiring opening ceremony, setting the tone for innovation and collaboration.
  • Problem Statement Pitches: Participants presented their challenges, which provided a platform for diverse perspectives and fostered a collaborative spirit.
  • Networking Session and Project Formations: A dedicated time for participants to network and form teams, encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Day 2

  • Breakfast and Opening Remarks: The second day began with an opportunity for informal networking and discussion over breakfast, followed by opening remarks that outlined the day’s objectives.
  • Project Development and Mentoring: Teams worked on their projects, receiving guidance and insights from mentors and experts in the field.
  • AI Solution Demos/Presentations: Participants showcased their innovative solutions, demonstrating the practical application of AI in addressing healthcare challenges.
  • Awards Ceremony: The event concluded with an awards ceremony, celebrating the hard work and creativity of the participants and acknowledging the winning projects.

Winning Projects and Contributions

First Place – Virtual Reality for Healthcare (STAR Center) – Courtney Christian, Lola Larrison, Tone King (UDM), Kendal Ash, and Cameron Pall (Madonna University). Prize: $500 Amazon gift cards + TechTown Detroit MVP Program ($4000).

  • An innovative Virtual reality (VR)/Extended reality (XR) project to enhance medical training, backed by real-time AI interaction.

Second Place – AeroGrow to address Detroit Food Challenges (TENN) – Chelsea Manning, Katie Ruhno (UDM), Ayo Dawudi, Bintu Adama (CanGrow), Dylan Harris, and Jaskiran Kaur (Madonna University). Prize: $250 Amazon gift cards + TechTown Detroit MVP Program ($4000).

  • AeroGrow, integrating aeroponic gardening with a comprehensive app, targeting urban food insecurity.

Third Place – Federated Healthcare AI Models – Mario Padilla Rodrigez (UDM CES), Ahlam Al Mohammad (UDM). Prize: $100 Amazon gift cards + UDM-AWS Innovation Program

  • Revolutionizing healthcare data analysis through secure federated learning technologies.

Best Project for Social Impact – Barber- and Beautician-led Blood Pressure Reduction Program – Sara Mustapha, Amar Hamade, Shadae Appling (Madonna University), Navaris Thomas, Dr. Sheila Williamson (UDM), and Arjun Patel (University of Michigan). Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Cards + UDM-AWS Innovation Program.

Most Innovative – Functional Addict (Salvation Army) – Emma Mossing, Marissa Green, Sam Cannarella, Kailyn Nunneley (Madonna University, Dale Murphy, Mariam Korkees (UDM), Ambur Alexiou (Henry Ford HS), and Bob Idzion (Salvation Army). Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Cards + UDM-AWS Innovation Program.

Special Projects – Trim the Pressure and Integrative Breathonomics – Notable projects focusing on hypertension management and early disease detection through innovative AI applications.

Event Impact and Future Directions

The Detroit Urban Healthcare AI Challenge 2023 was a testament to the power of collaboration between innovators in technology, healthcare, and academia. The event’s interactive format and the quality of mentorship fostered a conducive environment for innovative ideas to flourish. The success of this challenge has paved the way for future collaborations and advancements in healthcare technology, opening exciting prospects for both participants and the industry at large. Notably, the showcased innovations surpassed expectations, with five projects selected to advance to the next stage, signaling their potential for fundable research initiatives or commercial readiness.


The Detroit Urban Healthcare AI Challenge 2023 is a shining example of how events can bridge gaps between disciplines and encourage innovative thinking and practical problem-solving in healthcare. The success of this event has established a strong foundation for continued advancements in the application of AI in urban health, promising a brighter, healthier future.

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