Tufts recently held a week-long virtual hackathon where students turned data into compelling visualizations to help communities improve health.
In January, Tufts University leveraged its deep bench of expertise in both community health and data visualization to host VizAthon: Disrupting Childhood Obesity. Organized by ChildObesity180, a research center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and by Tufts’ Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC), the VizAthon invited Tufts students from across the university to find new ways to represent and communicate science and data on childhood obesity.
“Our students are unbelievable. When we were with the judges as they watched all of the presentations and deliberated, I thought, ‘Wow, we’re in good hands. The future is bright.’ ” - New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, Professor Christina Economos
The event set a goal of helping community organizations like health departments and nonprofits to better understand, track, communicate, and address the complex public health problem of childhood obesity. A cross-school team of organizers at Tufts invited them to use publicly available datasets to create static or interactive visualizations to display data, with the option to either use existing programs like Tableau or Excel or to write new programs using programming languages like R or Python.