Xavier to host health care 'hackathon'

The Division of Business at Xavier University, in partnership with Lift Off Health, will host a three-day event called the "Hack to Health Hackathon" from Friday through Sunday.

The event will be held in Xavier's NCF Academic/Science Complex, with a focus on health care, chronic diseases and behavioral health.

During the event, students, developers, health care professionals and entrepreneurs will build and share creations designed to address a health-related problem.

Hackathon teams will propose and work on technological and non-tech solutions that could transform health care. They will then present their solutions for cash prizes.

Speakers will include Charlotte Parent, assistant vice president at LCMC Health and former director of health for the city; Dr. Marcus Ware, medical director for neurosurgical oncology at Ochsner Medical Center; and Dr. Margarita Echeverri, associate professor and educational coordinator in health disparities, cultural competence and diversity at Xavier.

Participants can register at www.liftoffhealth.com/xula/.

3 UNO faculty members win research prizes

The University of New Orleans has awarded its 2016 Research Recognition Prizes to three faculty members.

Leonard Spinu, professor of physics, won the Research Excellence Prize and $10,000.

Irfan Ahmed, assistant professor of computer science, won the Early Career Research Prize and $7,500.

Wendy Schluchter, professor of biological sciences, won the Competitive Funding Prize and $10,000.

Spinu joined the physics faculty and the Advanced Materials Research Institute in 2002. He served as its director from 2012 to 2015 and is now a rotating program director of the National Facilities and Instrumentation Program at the National Science Foundation. He also has a research program with three doctoral students and three undergraduate students.

Spinu’s work has been published more than 140 times and he has served as an investigator on research projects garnering more than $15 million in awards. 

Ahmed joined the computer science department in 2013. He researches digital forensics, industrial control system security, malware detection and analysis, cloud computing and the human factor in cybersecurity.

Over the past three years, he has received four grants from the National Science Foundation, two from the Department of Defense, one from the Office of Naval Research and three from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

One of his NSF grants promotes peer instruction in cybersecurity courses to increase student retention and learning, which he initiated at UNO.

Schluchter joined the sciences faculty in 1998 and has been chairwoman of the department of biological sciences since 2010. She won the National Science Foundation Career Award in 2002.

She was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant of $1.5 million for increasing recruitment and retention of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students in an urban university. This award has established math and biology advising "boot camps" for freshmen and STEM learning communities at the freshman and sophomore levels.

Delgado program graduates 90 entrepreneurs

More than 90 entrepreneurs representing three classes graduated from the Delgado Community College Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program on Thursday.

Overall, more than 500 students from the New Orleans region have graduated from the program, with 2016 marking the fifth year of its partnership with Delgado.

The program, dedicated to helping small businesses create jobs and economic opportunity, has benefited more than 7,100 business owners nationally, according to Delgado officials.

Over the past year, the program served businesses in the construction, manufacturing, food service, retail and transportation industries. Together, these businesses employ more than 1,300 people locally and represent over $100 million in revenues, according to the release.

As part of the program, participants received practical business and management education, business support services and access to capital to help their businesses grow.

"Stimulating Small Business Growth," a report released by Babson College, found that program graduates consistently grow revenues and create jobs. Nearly 70 percent of participants reported increasing their revenues, and 50 percent reported creating net new jobs within six months after graduating. 

A $500 million investment by Goldman Sachs supports the project in partnership with Babson College and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Local partners in New Orleans include City Hall, Delgado, Greater New Orleans Inc., Hope Enterprise Corp., the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, the Idea Village and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

Prospective applicants can find out more at www.dcc.edu/10KSB.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.