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A digital app that makes it possible for trained citizen responders to work together in teams as soon as a civil disaster strikes is the winner of the Grand Prize awarded by “Code for Change,” a tech competition at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
New York City agencies and nonprofit organizations posed technical challenges to self-formed teams of developers, designers, and specialists who participated in the Code for Change competition. The Grand Prize winner is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which needed an easy-to-use app to help facilitate communication and information exchange among volunteer emergency responders in the immediate wake of a disaster.
Code for Change gave the participants two weeks instead of a typical hackathon’s 24 to 36 hours to identify real, sustainable solutions to questions of public importance. The event also marked the first time that a big-city hackathon included challenges from both government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
This was the first time, too, that four major tech nonprofits – Code for America, One Economy, NPower, and Blue Ridge Foundation New York – joined in co-partnering a hackathon, together with NYU Wagner – with sponsorships from Motorola Mobility Foundation, Liquidnet, Centre for Social for Social Innovations, Notable, General Assembly, and Zurb.
A second Code for Change award, the Change Prize, was given to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for an app that provides citizens with information they can use to engage with the democratic process, and fosters higher voter participation in elections.
Code for Change awarded its Promise Prize to the CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development for an app that enables students to exchange, rather than buy, textbooks – and defrays their higher-education costs.
Code for Change’s Popular Choice Prize was awarded to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship for a new platform enabling middle and high school students to write and share their own book reviews with one another, and creating a space for online reader discussion groups about literature.
The awardees – who were eligible for a total of $10,000 in cash, mentor lunches, General Assembly classes, Zurb’s web design audit, and free workspace at the Center for Social Innovation – were selected by a panel of seven judges.
New York University, in collaboration with Fundación Mujeres Por África, the University of Ghana, and Banco Santander has launched The Ghana Wins! Project, a major initiative designed to develop and promote leadership skills in Ghanaian women. A select number of Ghanian women will receive training and assistance from the NYU College of Nursing (NYUCN), the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service to help address Ghana’s critical needs in healthcare, education, and strengthening of its civil society.
“The needs in developing countries are great, but the more health resources that are developed, the better off the country will be,” says NYUCN’s Yvonne Wesley, co-director of the project. The project’s director, NYUCN’s Mattia Gilmartin, added, “Ghana is dealing with increases in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as we are here. One goal of our program is to teach the participating nurses skills to improve the quality of care in their local settings.”
Each school has been awarded a grant from Banco Santander to implement its portion of the project. The College of Nursing is the first to begin, launching the four-year Ghanaian Nurse Leaders Program, which addresses a fundamental need of the Ghanaian nursing profession—the development of a corps of nurses that can improve health system management and clinical practice —in Ghana.
The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at NYU Wagner will offer a one-year cohort-based leadership development program for mid- to senior-level women leaders from government and civil society organizations in Ghana. RCLA will select two cohorts of 15-20 women each working in public service across the nation. Women leaders will identify a pressing organizational or community need and design a public service action-learning project to address it. They will spend the following year working in small groups to implement their projects, aided by ongoing expert coaching via regular videoconferences and support from peers.
“In the half century since gaining its independence, Ghana has developed a strong and vibrant civil society to support its social, political, and economic growth,” noted RCLA Executive Director Bethany Godsoe. “As Ghana enters this next phase in its history, the continued strengthening of democratic institutions will be crucial to realizing greater prosperity, and NYU Wagner is honored to be identifying, nurturing, and equipping visionary women leaders as central to that effort.”
The Ghana Wins! Project builds on the collaborative relationship between NYU and the University of Ghana, which includes NYU’s study abroad site on the university’s campus in Accra, the country’s capital and largest city. For more than three years, the two universities and two medical centers—Korle Bu in Accra and Bellevue in New York City—have been working together and learning from each other.
In a nationally representative sample of nearly 3,000 children and adolescents, those who had higher concentrations of urinary bisphenol A (BPA), a manufactured chemical found in consumer products, had significantly increased odds of being obese, according to a groundbreaking study in the September 19 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by NYU Wagner professors Leonardo Trasande and Jan Blustein.
Leonardo Trasande, M.D., M.P.P., who is co-affiliated with the NYU School of Medicine, presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing announcing the Journal's new issue devoted to the question of obesity. The research, which has drawn national media coverage, is co-authored by Dr. Jan Blustein, M.D., P.h.D, professor of health policy and professor of medicine at Wagner and the School of Medicine. A third author, Teresa M. Attina, is affiliated with the School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics.
Irshad Manji, director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU Wagner, testified today before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management . The hearing examined military base security and lessons learned from the 2009 terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas.
In addition to Manji, who teaches at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, witnesses included Douglas Winter, deputy chairman and editor-in-chief, William Webster Commission; Michael Leiter, former director, National Counterterrorism Center; and Kshemendra Paul, program manager, Information Sharing Environment, Office of Director of National Intelligence.
Dennis C. Smith, associate professor of public policy at NYU Wagner, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).
NASPAA is a professional education association dedicated to the advancement of education, training, and research in public affairs/policy/administration. The association is a specialized accrediting agency for master’s degree. COPRA has independent decision-making and policy autonomy for purposes of accreditation review of master’s programs.
Professor Smith is among five new COPRA members appointed by incoming NASPAA president Jack Knott. The other new members include: Lisa Bingham, Indiana University;
Jo Ann Ewalt, College of Charleston; Jocelyn Johnston, American University, and
Andrew Whitford, University of Georgia.