About the challenge

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a longstanding problem in the United States, with persistently high, increasing, and now record-level rates of reported cases. One important area to explore to prevent and control STIs is technology and new media. Much has changed in the technology and media landscape in the past two decades that has had an impact on STI prevention, screening, and treatment. Technological tools, including artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics approaches, are rapidly changing STI intervention efforts.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), is hosting a virtual hackathon to generate innovative solutions to address the increase in STIs in the United States.

Competing teams (of 1-5 members) will develop a prototype that is functional with real or sample data. If you are looking for team members, check out the Participants tab to find other competitors looking for a team. We suggest looking for a mix of technical, public health or medical, and business/product experience expertise for your team. The event is open to all, including academia, philanthropy, private industry, students, and early to late career professionals.

Hackathon Details 

Join from September 19, 2023 (12:00 am Eastern Time) – October 30, 2023 (8:00 pm Eastern Time) (“Submission Period”)

Additional resources, including an STI primer and a description of the judging criteria, are available on the Resources tab (additional resources will be added, including judge bios). 

Mentor sessions are available! Check out the Updates tab (here) for mentor bios and to sign-up for a session. Mentors include:

  • José Arturo Bauermeister, MPH, PhD (he/him), Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Allysha C. Maragh-Bass, PhD, MPH (she/her), Scientist II, Behavioral, Epidemiological, and Clinical Sciences Division, FHI 360.
  • Alok Patra, MPH, Public Health Informatics Branch Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • Jessica Willoughby, PhD, MA, Associate professor, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Washington State University

About the organizer: 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide independent, objective advice to inform policy with evidence, spark progress and innovation, and confront challenging issues for the benefit of society. Learn more here.


What to Build

We encourage participants to think outside the box, explore new possibilities, and push the boundaries of innovation to create tangible and impactful STI prevention and control/sexual health promoting technology-centered solutions. However, the solution should be implementable—that is, not something that cannot be achieved in the current landscape (think privacy laws, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA] compliance, etc.). To make sure your solution is implementable, you can follow a framework for quickly learning how to develop and refine your idea, such as the customer development process (link). STIs also impact different populations disproportionately, so keep health equity at the forefront.

Any idea in the area of STI prevention and control to improve sexual health that incorprotates the use of technology will fit for this competition! See the Resources tab for more inspiration.

Project Requirements

  • What to Create: Entrants must create a working software application that helps prevent and control sexually transmitted infections (each a “Project”).
  • Sponsor Prizes: Projects being submitted for the Sponsor Awards must also follow the specific requirements listed in section 8. Awards.
  • Functionality: The Project must be capable of being successfully installed and running consistently on the platform for which it is intended and must function as depicted in the video and/or expressed in the text description.    
  • Platforms: A submitted Project must run on the platform for which it is intended and which is specified in the Submission Requirements.
  • New & Existing: Projects must be either newly created by Entrant or, if Entrant’s Project existed prior to the Hackathon Submission Period, must have been significantly modified after the start of the Hackathon Submission Period.
  • Third Party Integrations: If a Project integrates any third-party SDK, APIs and/or data, Entrant must be authorized to use them.

What to Submit

Submissions to the Hackathon must meet the following requirements:

  • Include a Project that aims to help prevent and control sexually transmitted infections and meets the above Project Requirements.
  • Include a text description that should explain the features and functionality of your Project.
  • Include a demonstration video of your Project. The video portion of the Submission:
    • Should be less than three (3) minutes.
    • Should include footage that shows the Project functioning on the device for which it was built
    • Must be uploaded to and made publicly visible on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook Video, or Youku, and a link to the video must be provided on the Submission form on the Hackathon Website; and
    • Must not include third party trademarks, or copyrighted music or other material unless Entrant has express written permission to use such material.
  • Additional Document Presentation including the following:
    • Brief synopsis of your solution (max 600 words). Include key points to address judging criteria. The description should also cover the project's objectives and any obstacles encountered during development.
    • An explanation of the technical aspects, methodologies, and algorithms used in the solution (no word limit).
    • An explanation of why you are the right team to be building this solution, and a description of who (if any) other people you might need involved in the future to successfully implement this project (e.g., support from a technology administrator at the CDC to implement a solution into CDC technology frameworks).
  • URL to a functional demo app OR URL to public code repository
    • Access to Your Prototype: Entrants must submit any relevant source code, design assets, or datasets necessary for the evaluation process. Provide necessary details for judges to access your solution, whether it's a test account or a website. Make sure the instructions are clear and straightforward and easy to access. Entrants  can use any format necessary to communicate the idea. 

Language Requirements

All Submission materials must be in English or, if not in English, Entrant must provide an English translation of the demonstration video, text description, and testing instructions as well as all other materials submitted. 

For additional submission details (e.g., multiple submissions & testing), see the full rules and eligibility.

Hackathon Sponsors


$24,000 in prizes

NAM Innovation Prize (supported by the NAM Catalyst Fund for Reproductive Health, Equity, and Society Program) (2)

The two teams awarded a NAM Innovation Prize will receive $2,000.00 (shared among team members)

First Place

Hackathon first place winning team will have their winning solutions featured on a website for the event and/or promoted on NAS social media accounts for NAS tax-exempt purposes. The first place Hackathon winning team will be eligible for a grant on the amount of $12,000 (shared among team members).

Second Place

Hackathon second place winning team will have their winning solutions featured on a website for the event and/or promoted on NAS social media accounts for NAS tax-exempt purposes. The second place Hackathon winning team will be eligible for a grant on the amount of $6,000 (shared among team members).

Third Place

Hackathon third place winning team will have their winning solutions featured on a website for the event and/or promoted on NAS social media accounts for NAS tax-exempt purposes. The third place Hackathon winning team will be eligible for a grant on the amount of $2,000 (shared among team members)

Publication Opportunity (5)

First, second, and third place teams, as well as NAM Innovation Prize winners, will be eligible to contribute to "NAM Perspectives," a health periodical that provides a venue for leading health, medical, science, and policy experts to reflect on issues and opportunities important to the advancement of the NAM’s mission.

Honorable Mention (3)

Three honorable mentions will be mailed swag bags including items such as a Hackathon branded hat, USB charger, notebook and other items.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Andre Berro

Andre Berro
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Abhik Choudhury

Sonia Almonte

Sonia Almonte
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Judging Criteria

  • Potential for Impact
    The extent to which the proposed idea may have a significant impact on prevention and control of STIs.
  • Feasibility/Progress During the Hackathon
    Have a clear path to implementation and adoption, overcome technical, financial, or legal barriers.
  • Innovation and Originality
    Extent to which the proposed idea challenges existing paradigms/employs new methodologies/concepts, including addressing equity and/or social and economic impacts.
  • Technical Complexity
    The extent to which the prototype is technically interesting, innovative, and challenging; effective technical strategy to address the specific need.
  • Implementation
    What environment is in place to assist the team to be able to continue working on this project after the hackathon? What are the anticipated logistical infrastructural barriers in implementing this idea?
  • Presentation
    Clarity of content and logic of flow; time management; engagement; visual aesthetic; professionalism, poise, and polish.

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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