Why hold a Public Health Challenge?

Chronic diseases and conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness and unintentional injuries account for the most deaths and poor quality of life in Canada and globally. No one group can solve these complex social and health challenges facing Canadian society. To advance efforts to promote healthy living, prevent chronic disease and reduce injury, we need new solutions, tools and partnerships.

Through this series of events, Hacking Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention are inviting Canadians to rethink our approach to public health through technology. We’re inviting communities to participate in hackathons across the country and use collective intelligence to explore new technologies, perspectives and approaches. We hope that in the process we can help participants develop tools like infographics and applications that will support chronic disease prevention and health promotion interventions.

We know that data is an important tool for disease prevention and public health promotion and through these events we’re encouraging Canadians to explore the Agency’s data sets, as well as other public health-related data sets. We hope to inspire participants to use them to develop hands on, practical solutions in response to priority themes and challenges brought forward by the Public Health Agency of Canada and its partners.

The themes for this Canada Public Health Challenge include: Physical Activity, Mental Health/Mental Illness, Dementia, and Injury Prevention. Click here to learn more about the challenges and themes.

What we’re hoping to achieve

The Public Health Challenge is intended to bring data experts, concerned citizens, programmers, designers and health professionals  together. This challenge is an opportunity to collaborate and innovate in concrete, effective ways to design innovative products and tools that contribute to measurable and positive outcomes for the health and well-being of Canadians.

About the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Our mission is to promote and protect the health of Canadians through leadership, partnership, innovation and action in public health as we envision healthy Canadians and communities in a healthier world.

Our role is to:

  • Promote health;
  • Prevent and control chronic diseases and injuries;
  • Prevent and control infectious diseases;
  • Prepare for and respond to public health emergencies;
  • Serve as a central point for sharing Canada’s expertise with the rest of the world;
  • Apply international research and development to Canada’s public health programs; and
  • Work in the areas of healthy living and the prevention of chronic disease and injury.

To find out more about the the Public Health Agency of Canada’s work in chronic disease and injury prevention, you can visit our website  

About Hacking Health

Hacking Health is a Canadian-based international non-profit organization designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems.

What we do

We utilize a “health hacker” inspired approach that combines front-line user experience with talent from diverse fields to generate innovative concepts that can be rapidly prototyped and refined. While the term “hacker” has had inappropriately negative connotation, “hacking” simply means challenging seemingly entrenched problems by testing innovative concepts and ideas through the rapid building and testing of inchoate and low-cost prototypes.

Our hackathons and workshops are fun, intense, hands-on events where small teams tackle tough problems in a supportive community of peers and mentors.

Why we’re involved

As a non profit organization based in 10 Canadian cities and a national leader in digital health innovation, Hacking Health is assisting the Public Health Agency of Canada in mobilizing local tech communities and facilitating a dialogue around Canadian public health challenges.