Asia Pacific Workshop 2021

International Graduate Students Collaborate to Apply Technology to Solve Global Challenges in SMART Healthcare Delivery

In the spring of 2021, Broadcom Foundation continued its renowned University Student Research Workshops with a virtual convening of international teams of interdisciplinary graduate students who tackled healthcare challenges for teenagers, adults, and seniors. 

Hosted by Professors Shien-Ping (Tony) Feng and Wei-Ning Lee, Student Chair Sijia Wang, and Student Co-chairs Dan Ran and Kaiyu Mu, of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), the 2021 Asia Pacific University Student Research Workshop (APW) gathered 21 student participants with diverse academic backgrounds and skills from HKU; University of California, Irvine (UCI), California; Alabama A&M University (AAMU), Alabama; and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Taiwan. 

APW partners included UCI’s G. P. Li, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering; AAMU’s Aaron Adams, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and NYCU’s Kai-Ten Feng, professor and associate dean in the College of Electrical and Computing Engineering.

The workshop included presentations by four prestigious speakers from academia and business: Norman C. Tien, vice president and pro-vice-chancellor (Institutional Advancement) of The University of Hong Kong; Nicole Washington, founder and chief executive officer of Boralogix Inc.; Pantelis Georgiou, PhD, reader in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London; and Stephen Kulper, chief executive officer and co-founder of Lifespans Ltd.

“The Broadcom Foundation established the Asia Pacific University Workshop to encourage research collaboration amongst graduate students and faculty on a theme of current international impact.  This year’s workshop focus on healthcare delivery prompted students to identify current or potential health-related problems and yield creative technological solutions for addressing and potentially minimizing those problems,” said Nicolaos Alexopoulos, Ph.D., Advisor for University and Community Relations at Broadcom Foundation.

“The Asia Pacific University Student Workshop recreated a unique opportunity for the students to contemplate real-world scenarios and experience rapid-fire solution building among a team of individuals they had just met,” said Paula Golden, president of Broadcom Foundation. “Coupled with presentations by some amazing thought leaders, the students got a real taste of what entrepreneurs outside of academia must do to become change agents in their fields.”

The universal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human life, which has hastened demand for removing barriers to healthcare, was the inspiration for the workshop.  Student-led teams brainstormed, collaborated, and presented solutions for “SMART healthcare delivery” for three age categories: teenagers, adults, and seniors. 

Innovative solutions to a specific need of the three age groups were presented by each team.  The Teenager Group addressed the issue of mental health and cyberbullying.  They developed Cyber Peace, a system that incorporates encouragement rather than punishment to help cyberbullying victims, bullies, and bystanders.

“Our team chose cyberbullying from an information security, social responsibility, and physical and psychological hazards perspective,” said Teenager Group team member Hsin-Hui Huang, NYCU. “I learned so much from my team members, team leader and teachers.  Our team leader, Jessica, taught me how to lead a team through communication with everyone involved, keeping us on task, and encouraging us!”

“The leadership experience I gained as a team leader will be invaluable for my future, both as a senior PhD student and in my career,” said Jessica Vidmark, UCI.  “I hope to manage my own team one day, and this creative experience has made me both more confident and excited about such a role in the future.”

The Adult Group presented Health Hero, a membership app to be used by adults to submit details of non-emergency medical conditions, and then receive consultation services, continuous tracking, and preventive monitoring from independent medical doctors. 

The Senior Group identified loneliness and depression amongst seniors as a problem requiring a smart solution.  The Senior Group developed a way for older adults to connect with others in their communities through Smart Life Community, a platform “that integrates different services and senior healthcare,” said Senior Group team member Claire Chaisson, UCI.    

The students deepened their bond as teams and new friends through participation in a virtual APW Talent Show that included dancing, the cooking of a local dish, demonstration of abilities on musical instruments, and – by the Teenager Group, Best Talent Show winner – singing in five different languages (Mandarin, Korean, Swedish, Farsi, and English) of the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen!

“I enjoyed the talent show as it demonstrated students can connect with each other virtually,” said Shien-Ping (Tony) Feng, PhD, associate professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at HKU.  “I think students are learning to work and communicate online which may have significant benefits like saving time traveling and reducing our carbon footprint.”

“I will take what I learned from this workshop and spread awareness of the reformations that are needed for the global healthcare systems,” said Adult Group team member Phylicia McCoy, AAMU.  “This workshop was an innovative experience and a lifelong dream of mine to collaborate with students abroad.”

Find a version of this story on UCI’s California Institute of Telecommunication and Information Technology (CALIT2) page here.

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