A Victory for Research

Mark Hoffman of UMKC and Children’s Mercy Competed at Google in Boston

Mark Hoffman of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Children’s Mercy was one of 10 national finalists who competed in Medstro’s Google Wearables in Healthcare Challenge before judges at Google’s Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters.

“For me, this is about the opportunity to do some work at the leading edge and about broadening precision medicine, putting a very personal face — in this case some special children — on a technology initiative,” said Hoffman, director of UMKC Center for Health Insights and director of Translational Bioinformatics at Children’s Mercy.

Hoffman’s Challenge entry was on “Precision Medicine: Personalized ‘normal’ temperature,” proposing that the Raiing Medical iThermonitor could be used to study baseline “normal” body temperatures. The entry was among the 10 selected out of 89 entries by voters and judges, and the only one selected west of Philadelphia.

Though Hoffman didn’t win the $10,000 top prize for his entry, he received a dozen Raiing thermometers from the company to begin research.

“I’m excited to start this collaboration,” Hoffman said. “It was great networking all around and a great learning experience. I want to encourage students to compete in the future.”

Hoffman’s wearables entry was inspired by the multiple health challenges facing the Szajnuk family, the three grandchildren of the choir director at Hoffman’s church. The three children struggle with pain, inability to cool down when they become warm and other symptoms. Hoffman’s #Research blog post includes more information.

Before joining UMKC and Children’s Mercy in 2013, Hoffman spent 16 years leading genomics, public health and research initiatives at Cerner, where he was a vice president.

Hoffman took part in the recent Middle of the Map Fest, a panel discussion on “Homegrown Tech for Social Good.”

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