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Federal contest aims to spur development of public health apps for Facebook

Federal health officials are challenging software developers to create Facebook applications that enhance community connections and improve individuals' preparedness for emergency situations such as epidemics or natural disasters. Kaiser Health News reports:

The competition will run till the end of hurricane season on Nov. 4. No word on what a Facebook public health application might look like, but the ideal, according to the [department of Health and Human Services] website, would include a method for users to identify three people as 'lifelines' or emergency contacts. It would also create and share personal preparedness plans, be mobile-device ready, and incorporate a Geographic Information System (GIS) for locating or "tagging." No mention of batteries or bottled water.

. . .The HHS Assistant Secretary for ASPR, Dr. Nicole Lurie, said this competition was a great way for HHS to take advantage of emerging social media. "One of the things that is fundamental to a community's resilience is its connections between people," she said. "In the end it's going to be friends and neighbors who are going to help each other out in an emergency situation."

More details about the contest and information on how to register can be found here. The winning team will receive a $10,000 cash prize, the chance to attend an event with Lurie and free passes to the Spring Health 2.0 Conference.

Previously: White House announces "Apps for Healthy Kids" winner and Stanford team wins 2010 Health 2.0 Developer Challenge award

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