Education & Training

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Hackathon

Hacking Rehabilitation

Hackathon Registration

The first ever Spaulding Hackathon was held prior to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Annual Meeting in September 2015. The 2-day event focused on the development of creative and innovative solutions specifically for rehabilitation medicine challenges.

The Spaulding Hackathon brings together clinicians, engineers, designers, programmers, and entrepreneurs to tackle clinical and healthcare related problems specific to rehabilitation medicine. These talented individuals are given the opportunity to collaborate with each other to find innovative ways to solve problems to benefit caregivers and patients.

The Spaulding Hackathon is hosted by Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in collaboration with the MIT Hacking Medicine.

View information on our winners, speakers, judges, mentors and sponsors below.



1st Place Prize

$2000 Cash
$5000 Legal Services from Foley Hoag
$3500 iOS Development from Beacon Growth
3 Month Membership at Cambridge Innovation Center

2nd Place Prize
$1000 Cash
$1500 iOS Development from Beacon Growth

Best Design Award
$10,000 Design services from Mad*Pow

All winners eligible to participate in the Spaulding Accelerator Program



Hugh Herr, PhD
Associate Professor, Media Arts and Sciences Associate
Professor, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology

His research program seeks to advance technologies that promise to accelerate the merging of body and machine, including device architectures that resemble the body’s musculoskeletal design, actuator technologies that behave like muscle, and control methodologies that exploit principles of biological movement. His methods encompass a diverse set of scientific and technological disciplines, from the science of biomechanics and biological movement control to the design of biomedical devices for the treatment of human physical disability.

His research accomplishments in science and technology have already made a significant impact on physically challenged people. The Transfemoral Quasipassive Knee Prosthesis has been commercialized by Össur Inc., and is now benefiting amputees throughout the world. In 2006, he founded the company iWalk Inc. to commercialize the Powered Ankle-Foot Prosthesis and other bionic leg devices. Professor Herr’s work impacts a number of academic communities. He has given numerous invited and plenary lectures at international conferences and colloquia, including the IVth World Congress of Biomechanics, the International Conference on Advanced Prosthetics, the National Assembly of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, World Economic Forum, Google Zeitgeist, Digital Life Design, and the TEDMED Conference. He is Associate Editor for the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, and has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Experimental Biology, the International Journal of Robotics Research, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, and the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. He has been invited to participate in joint funding proposals from other universities and corporations, and has served on research review panels including the National Institute of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2007, He was presented with the 13th Annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment. His work has been featured by various national and international media, including Scientific American Frontiers, Technology Review, National Geographic, the History Channel, and CNN.


Andrea Ippolito

Getting her start at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, Andrea Ippolito now leads the VA Innovators Network within the VA Center for Innovation. In this capacity, she designed and oversaw the creation of a program that provides the tools and resources to VA employees to develop innovations that improve the experience of our Veterans. Ms. Ippolito has pursued doctoral studies in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT, and is the Co-Founder of an innovative application that improves access to care called Smart Scheduling, which was recently acquired by athenahealth in 2016. She also previously served as the Co-Director of MIT's "Hacking Medicine" program, as an Innovation Specialist at the Brigham Innovation Hub and Product Innovation Manager at athenahealth. Ms. Ippolito completed her MS in Engineering & Management at MIT. Prior to MIT, Ms. Ippolito worked as a Research Scientist within the Corporate Technology Development group at Boston Scientific. She obtained both her BS in Biological Engineering in 2006 and Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering in 2007 from Cornell University.


At the conclusion of the event, judges will assess, ask questions and often will give specific, useful feedback, The role of Judges is to go beyond identifying ‘winners’ by helping each team see the strengths and weaknesses of their proposed project. Judges will come from a variety of disciplines including the investment community, start-ups, market analysts, patients and others. Judges will also have a chance to continue to work with teams after the hackathon.


Elaine Chen
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
Founder and Managing Director, ConceptSpring

Elaine is a startup veteran and innovation and entrepreneurship consultant who has brought numerous hardware and software products to market. As Founder and Managing Director of ConceptSpring, she works with executives and leaders of entrepreneurial teams to create product strategies and roadmaps, and to formulate aggressive but achievable program plans to implement the company’s vision. She is also a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she teaches entrepreneurship, primary market research, and organization development in startup settings. She is the author of the book, “Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production”.

Elaine has previously served at the VP level in engineering and product management at several startups, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote and SensAble Technologies. She holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.


Amy Cueva
Founder & Chief Experience Officer

Amy Cueva is founder, chief experience officer, and healthcare principal at Mad*Pow, a design agency focused on improving the experiences people have with organizations, technology, and each other.

Amy plays an essential role in Mad*Pow's visualization of a changed healthcare system in the U.S. Her work with companies like Aetna, CVS, McKesson, and Fidelity has helped improve the customer experience, leverage design to drive change, and facilitate human-centric innovation. As the chief instigator behind Mad*Pow's Healthcare Experience Design Conference—now in its fourth year and expanded and rebranded as HxRefactored—Amy has successfully connected and networked disparate parts of a challenging and siloed system.

Amy's grown Mad*Pow's presence, client base, and revenue, leading to Mad*Pow’s 2009 recognition as one of Inc. 500's fastest growing privately held companies. Mass High Tech named her one of its 2009 Women to Watch, and she supports An Orphan’s Dream, a nonprofit organization supporting AIDS-orphaned children in Gachoka, Kenya.


Michael Muehe

Michael Muehe is the Executive Director of the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities. He also serves as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator for the City of Cambridge. For over thirty years, he has advocated in the areas of disability policy, independent living, and the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Michael began his career pushing for access to public transit from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, Michael has actively participated in the nationwide ADA Training and Implementation Network. Michael serves on the Board of Directors of Partners Continuing Care.


Dan Newman

Dan Newman is Managing Partner of Cross Atlantic Advisory and Cross Atlantic Ventures, a Cambridge, MA based venture capital and advisory firm focused on early stage companies in a number of technology sectors with investments in the US, France and Israel. He is a results-driven, seasoned professional bringing more than 30 years of experience across strategy, business development and investment management. Dan has worked with companies in a broad range of technologies including hardware, software consumer products and medical devices. Dan is a Board member and member of various Advisory Boards in a range of technology sectors in France and the US. He is also a Limited Partner at Hub Angels, one of the oldest angel groups in the Boston area.


Ralph Sheridan

Member of Launchpad Venture Group, previously with Young Presidents Organization, World Energy Solutions, MassVentures.

Coaching technology CEO's and Boards through complex market and strategy problems. Investor in early stage technology in software for social, mobile and cloud opportunities.


David Storto

David E. Storto is the President of Partners Continuing Care and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Under Mr. Storto's leadership since 1998, PCC has grown and been developed as the fully integrated non-acute care services division of Partners HealthCare based in Boston, Massachusetts. PCC includes two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals with 23 outpatient centers, two long-term acute-care hospitals, and three skilled nursing facilities, together recognized as the SRN. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is the highly ranked and internationally recognized flagship of the SRN and is home to the Harvard Medical School's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

PCC's home care organization that covers Eastern Massachusetts is now known as Partners HealthCare at Home (PHH). PHH represents the integration over 30 hospital-based home-care agencies and community-based Visiting Nurse Associations. PHH has been recognized as one of the National Home Care Elite in 2009 and 2010, a distinction given to the top 25% performing agencies in the nation by Outcome Concept Systems. PHH was also one of the top performing home care organizations in the country in the CMS pay for performance demonstration project, driven heavily by its 90+ percentile performance in relation to avoidance of emergency department visits and unplanned acute hospital readmissions.

Mr. Storto is a Trustee of PCC and its subsidiaries, as well as of the Massachusetts General Hospital Health Services Corporation. Since 1998, Mr. Storto has been a member of the Specialty Hospital CEO Group of the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA). In 2009, he was elected to the MHA Board of Directors. He also is active in several other national and state professional associations and community organizations.

Prior to joining Partners and Spaulding, Mr. Storto was the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). Mr. Storto served in numerous capacities during his 18-year tenure at RIC, including social worker, Director of Admissions and Marketing, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Vice President of Planning. During this time, he became an expert in operational management, program development, governance and strategic planning in rehabilitation facilities.

Mr. Storto received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with distinction, in 1976 and a Masters Degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 1978. He received his Juris Doctor from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1986.

Mr. Storto is married to Shelley Mogil and they live in Boston, Massachusetts. They have two children Max and Mara. Outside of work and family, Mr. Storto is a marathon runner who loves to cook, sing karaoke, and travel.


Ross Zafonte, DO

Dr. Ross D. Zafonte is Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as Senior Vice President Medical Affairs Research and Education at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Dr. Zafonte's textbook is considered one of the standards in the field of brain injury care. Dr. Zafonte's work is presently funded by the NIH, DOD and NIDRR, and he is currently directing several large clinical treatment trials. His laboratory work has focused on understanding mechanisms of recovery after Brain and Spinal Cord Injury. Dr. Zafonte also serves on the Board of Governors for the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.


Mentors at hackathons help a team gain more insight on the problem or solution they are hacking. Mentors can:

  • Provide a skill set the team does not have, such as coding.
  • Shed light on aspects of the project the team may not have thought of.
  • Help the team think through their hacking process.

A good mentor is rare – they are engaging, helpful, and lead conversations in a constructive way – all while building upon what has already been done by the group. A successful hackathon will have a diverse group of mentors that, similar to the hackathon participants themselves, will include a combination of engineers, healthcare professionals, business experts, and designers, but typically more experienced and established.


Saurabha Bhatnagar, MD

Saurabha Bhatnagar, M.D. completed undergraduate studies in Computer Science at Illinois Institute of Technology, his doctorate from The Chicago Medical School/RFUMS, and residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from Wayne State University / Oakwood, where he served as Chief Resident for two years. He completed a Neurorehabilitation / Traumatic Brain Injury Fellowship from Harvard Medical School / Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. In the VA Boston Healthcare System, he is an Innovation Officer and involved in the national Innovation rollout in the VA. He believes that healthcare innovation involves characteristics of human centered design, Lean/Six Sigma, value based healthcare, and systems redesign. In addition, he serves as the Associate Residency Program Director and Chair of the Clinical Competency Committee in the Department of PM&R at Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital / Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.


Allen Buie

Allen is an award-winning healthcare designer who challenges the boundaries that traditionally separate planning, architecture and interior design, by creating holistic and inspiring healthcare settings. Many of life’s defining moments occur in healthcare facilities, thus Allen focuses on design solutions that create efficient and dignified environments for those moments to occur.

For 13 years, he has focused his career exclusively on the design and planning of all types of healthcare environments including academic medical centers, community hospitals, pediatric facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and private physician practices. Allen sees every project as an opportunity to elevate the quality of healthcare design and bring a powerful and elegant simplicity to environments that are often illegible to visitors and inefficient for staff. His recent project work spans the East coast, including Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Maine Medical Center in Portland, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown.


Dr. Anshuman Chadda

Dr. Chadda is a medical doctor, and a Harvard-trained innovator in the field of health information technology. The focus of his work is using technology to improve healthcare delivery to underserved and vulnerable populations with most health inequities such as the elderly patients, patients with severe mental illnesses, and minority patient population. Dr. Chadda has developed models and systems in mhealth that directly address all these barriers that come with use of technology in healthcare. Dr. Chadda’s work on improving health literacy and health communication has gained wide recognition and he has been invited to present at various forums including acting as a Guest lecture for the course HST 936 Global Health Informatics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Global Chat at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Guest lecture for the course, “Explaining Health Behavior: Insights from Behavioral Economics”, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Chadda has also been appointed to serve as the inaugural Global Entrepreneur in Residence at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where he is directly mentoring and leading the healthcare startup building activities in the university and the greater Lowell area. He is currently incubating and providing executive roles to well-funded projects and startup companies whose work holds the potential to break new ground in the healthcare field.


Suresh Gopalan, PhD

Suresh Gopalan, PhD is an entrepreneur, mechanical engineer and biotechnologist. He is the CEO and founder of ReSurfX, a decision analytics company. ReSurfX enables better decisions and outcomes for Pharma and Healthcare through robust accuracy, novel insights and by advance prediction of outcome directions from large volumes of data using our paradigmatic ‘Adaptive Hypersurface Technology’. Our powerful and integrative solutions and products for data generation and utilization help enterprises navigate ongoing digital transformation to achieve superior ROI and thrive in the evolving outcomes-based economy. The concept behind technology used by ReSurfX – that brings a new dimension to the terms ‘personalization’ and ‘accuracy’ with an unprecedented level of improvement in ROI - was invented by Suresh Gopalan.


Christina Gunther-Murphy
Executive Director
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

Christina Gunther-Murphy is executive director at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where she is responsible for developing and executing against IHI's person-centered care strategy to achieve results, reputation, and financial targets. Prior to this role, she served as director and manager, overseeing operations for IHI's hospital portfolio, managing key internal transitions, and leading internal improvement efforts. She also has experience in spread and scale-up as the manager of IHI's 5 Million Lives Campaign and advisor for a number of large-scale change programs in the U.S. and internationally, including the 100,000 Homes Campaign. Before joining IHI, Christina worked at the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality. She holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.


Michael Joyce

As a member of HDR's Strategic Innovation team, Michael Joyce helps clients create compelling experiences that combine facility design, process, service model, and enabling technology. His voracious appetite for information has allowed him to reinvent his career several times over his 17 years with HDR: information technology, web design, social knowledge sharing, and experience design. Michael's unique balance of analytic and creative thinking enables him to engage non-designers to think and create like designers. He has mentored two student teams at the University of Nebraska’s Raikes School of Computer Science to explore applications of RFID and the Internet of Things in healthcare facilities. Michael has lead co-creation sessions with clients like Kaiser Permanente, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, MD Anderson, the University of Utah, and Rush University Medical Center. His super powers are comfort with ambiguity, doodling, and immunity from stress.


Imran Khan

Imran has more than 20 years of experience and spent the majority of his architectural career working with academic science + technology clients, including the Boston area’s premiere research institutions MIT, Harvard University and Northeastern University. He is a trusted partner for our clients and within our teams. Imran has spent his career focusing on higher education projects, most recently at Ellenzweig Architecture | Planning. His projects include various research laboratory additions and renovations at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; the Health Sciences Simulation Laboratory Suite at Northeastern University in Boston; and a new Chemistry Teaching and Research Building at Iowa State University. Imran gives back to the architectural community by sitting on the Master of Architecture Thesis Faculty at the Boston Architectural College, a post he has held since 2007.


Tara Murphy

Tara Murphy is the founding Administrative Director for the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership, an initiative of Partners HealthCare that works to expand access to high-quality health care for underserved populations. Previously, she led the design and implementation of a comprehensive federal compliance program at the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a global health organization committed to improving health care in the developing world. She has also served as the Administrative Director for Harvard PEPFAR, the largest federal grant in Harvard’s history, which provided HIV/AIDS services in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Botswana, and as the Director of Research Development for the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Tara is a graduate of Cornell University and the Boston University School of Public Health and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.


Pieter van Noordennen

As the Director of Digital Development for Rowman & Littlefield, Pieter van Noordennen defines the digital product strategy for one of the world’s largest independent publishing companies. He leads efforts to create innovative new products that generate non-traditional revenue. He and his team are well-versed in technology management, content strategy, and analytics. Prior to joining Rowman & Littlefield, he was a product manager for Orbitz Worldwide and an award-winning journalist working for national magazines such as Outside, Money, Entrepreneur, Forbes, National Geographic Adventure, and Skiing. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.


Robert Oh

Robert Oh is the founder of Beacon Growth ( Beacon Growth is an iOS (Swift) development firm that specializes in building minimum viable product iPhone apps for startups in exchange for cash and equity. Robert is a former McKinsey & Company consultant with an MBA from the Wharton School and BA from Yale University.


Chad Reilly
Masters in Architecture

With over 20 years of experience, Chad brings leadership and exceptional management skills to highly complex projects. With sharp focus and a quiet talent for consensus building, Chad leads high level clients and stakeholders through the design and construction process. He has an innate instinct for anticipating potential issues and addressing concerns effectively to move projects forward to successful completion. Chad’s highly collaborative approach, ability to see the large vision of a project, and understanding of how multiple, interdependent components need to come together amidst constantly changing dynamics, are keys to the success of his projects.


Anthony Rufo
Associate, Foley Hoag

Anthony Rufo is an Associate in Foley Hoag’s Intellectual Property and Litigation Departments, and a member of the the firm’s Trademark, Copyright and Unfair Competition and Advertising and Marketing practice groups.

Anthony provides a full range of services to clients in connection with intellectual property matters, including litigation, portfolio development, and counseling. Anthony’s experience includes trademarks, copyrights, false advertising, domain name piracy, unfair competition, and patents.


Julie K. Silver, MD
Associate Professor
Associate Chair for Strategic Initiatives
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Harvard Medical School & Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Julie Silver, MD is an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair for Strategic Initiatives at in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Dr. Silver has published many scientific reports and is well-known for her ground-breaking work on “impairment driven cancer rehabilitation” which was initially published in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians--a high impact factor oncology journal that is published by the American Cancer Society. Impairment-driven cancer rehabilitation was subsequently incorporated into the American Cancer Society’s Facts & Figures for the first time in 2015. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Cancer Rehabilitation Group for the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine—a research focused interdisciplinary professional society. Dr. Silver developed a best practices model for cancer rehabilitation care that hundreds of U.S. hospitals adopted, and it was featured by the Discovery Channel’s TV show Innovations. She has written and edited many books and is formerly the Chief Editor of Books for Harvard Health Publications—the official publishing division for Harvard Medical School. She currently directs two annual 3-day CME courses at Harvard Medical School: “Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare” and “Writing, Publishing and Social Media for Healthcare Professionals”. Her work has been recognized by the American Cancer Society (Lane Adams Quality of Life Award), Massachusetts General Hospital (The One Hundred) and The Boston Globe (Top Innovator in Medicine). Dr. Silver is currently affiliated with several Harvard teaching hospitals including Spaulding Rehabilitation, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. Her work has been featured in many media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, USA Today, The London Times and NPR. She has also appeared on numerous TV shows including the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Fox News, ABC News and Dr. Oz.


Jodi Sperber PhD, MPH

I'm a pracademic, taking research off of the balcony and putting it on the dance floor. I've worked in public health for the past 20 years, combining research, evaluation, technology, communications, and project management expertise. I believe that creativity and engagement enabled via technology will have a dramatic impact on, well, everything, and I plan to have a meaningful role in that conversation, with a particular focus on health.

Specialties: Qualitative research, user insight research, technical and creative writing, social network analysis, strategic planning, and training and technical assistance with the strategic use of new media tools in ways that are easily understood and relevant to individual goals. I help others to recognize they have an important story and help them tell it, bridging the divide between speaking data and speaking human


Jessica Stebbins

A recognized authority in healthcare design, Jessica brings a depth of experience and leadership healthcare design to each project. As healthcare principal, she drives the growth and development of the firm’s healthcare architecture practices in the Northeast region. Dedicated to improving the standard of care delivery, Jessica’s work is a reflection of her belief that design—down to the smallest detail—can make all the difference in the healing process for patients, their families and staff. Her portfolio includes the nationally renowned, LEED Gold replacement facility for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Massachusetts; various projects for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; master plans for Nemours Children’s Hospital in both Wilmington, Delaware and Orlando, Florida; and studies for both Hallmark Health in Wakefield, Massachusetts and Cleveland Clinic Heart Hospital in Shanghai, China.


Zhengjie (Sophie) Sun
Director, Global Commercial Oncology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Healthcare leader aspiring to make an impact to the organization and the industry. The diversified work and life experience in the military, professional organizations and international enterprises on three continents (Asia, Europe and North America) provide me a balanced perspective and approach for business and people development. I am well recognized for my expertise in communications, marketing and strategy, and am on my way to excel on general management.


Raj Vallabh
Counsel, Registered Patent Attorney, Foley Hoag

Rajesh (Raj) Vallabh is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group. He has over 20 years of experience as a registered U.S. patent attorney. With degrees in both electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, Raj’s practice involves patent prosecution and litigation in a wide range of technologies including computer software and hardware, electronics, robotics, automotive technology, industrial processes, e-commerce, financial services, social media, medical devices, and clean energy technologies.


Kathleen Woods

With over 30 years of nursing experience and over 15 years in executive leadership roles, Kathleen is especially talented at developing efficient strategies to better serve patients, their families, and healthcare providers. Her deep understanding of the many ways in which healthcare facility design can support and enhance delivery is invaluable as she engages and leads people through transformational change. Kathleen leads all aspects of healthcare planning efforts including creating strategic plans, master facility plans, and functional and space programs. Using her Lean Six Sigma skills, she identifies areas of opportunity for process improvement and acts as a senior advisor to healthcare organizations through implementation.


Friday, October 14th   |    Saturday, October 15th
5:30 PM


Registration will take place between 5:30pm and 6:00pm

6:00 PM



6:30 PM

HACK 101

7:00 PM


7:15 PM


8:00 PM


(9:00pm is official conclusion)

9:00 PM




For more information on the Spaulding Hackathon please email Lara Hauslaib at For information on sponsorship opportunities please contact Amanda Ravens at