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Jun 6 2012   1:34PM GMT

Bon Jovi gives mobile app development a good name

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
Health Datapalooza, health IT, mHealth, mHealth applications, Mobile applications

Shot through the heart, no resources to their names, Jon Bon Jovi is giving mobile app development a good name.

Though rock stars aren’t immediately top of mind in whom you’d expect to see championing mobile app development at a health care IT conference, this was exactly what took place on the first day of the Health Data Initiative Forum III, or Health Datapalooza, held in June in Washington, D.C. Along with members of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and in partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Bon Jovi took the stage to speak about Project REACH and the Mobile App Challenge,  a contest with up to $25,000 at stake for the grand prize winner.

An initiative backed by the JBJ Soul Foundation, Project REACH — Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless  —  is an effort to combat homelessness among veterans, getting them the care and resources they need, when they need them.  The project’s Mobile App Challenge is utilizing crowdsourcing tactics to target software developers for the creation of an easy to use, easy to access web and mobile application designed to connect homeless vets and those facing economic uncertainty with health care providers and free clinics, food banks and hunger assistance programs, as well as shelters and housing options in their area. The winning app will collect, map and electronically distribute this information and allow all participating resource members to update their status and details on their assistance programs in real time.

Just how did the Jersey boy and rock legend come to be a member of the White House Council for Community Solutions and Project REACH partner? “One night while my wife and I were at the [Soul] Kitchen, there was a man doing dishes, and he wasn’t leaving. We realized that he might not be leaving because he didn’t have anywhere else to go. We looked up places for him to stay, but odds were he couldn’t get there — he had no car, no other resources,” Bon Jovi told the Datapalooza audience.

While this got the wheels in motion, it was a run-in with former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra on the way to the bathroom that took things to the next level. Bon Jovi said he grabbed the CTO, telling him, “There’s something I want to talk to you about.” Thus the idea for Project REACH and the Mobile App Challenge was born.

Finalists were announced during the health IT week in DC, and a winner will be chosen in the fall. Any apps that are submitted now through the winner announcement will be featured in “the Gallery,” where the benefit will not be a cash prize, but the satisfaction of providing a free resource for connecting those who “have” with those who “have not.”

“The power of ‘we’ gives us the power to make a difference,” Bon Jovi noted as he wrapped up his time at Health DataPalooza.

JBJ — from livin’ on a prayer, to livin’ on information technology and philanthropic development. When I think now about champions of the less fortunate and those who are using their position and stature for good, Jon Bon Jovi will be top of mind, always (pun intended).

Project REACH Mobile App Challenge finalists are:

  • Finalist #1
    Leads:  Robert Damashek, Corey Brown
    Organization:  Binary Group
    Location:  Arlington, Va.
  • Finalist #2
    Lead: John McCarthy
    Location: Forest Hills, N.Y.
  • Finalist #3
    Leads: Jessi Schoenleber, Joe Nicosia
    Organization: JJAppCo, LLC
    Location: Manchester, N.J.
  • Finalist #4
    Leads: Joshua Temkin and Jim Homer
    Organization: Qbase
    Location: Reston, Va.
  • Finalist #5
    Lead: Mike McDougall
    Organization: Makani Kai Tech
    Location: Kihei, Hawaii

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