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Pharmacy student Grace Hong serving at Cedar Care Village Pharmacy

Seeking Healthcare Solutions in a Hurry

by Bryson Durst, Student Public Relations Writer

Grace Hong, a first-year Doctor of Pharmacy student at Cedarville University, will participate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Hacking Medicine Grand Hack from April 15-17, 2022. While there, Hong, who is from Powell, Ohio, will work with a small team to propose and create a solution for a healthcare-related problem.

“Grace has the type of attitude and collaborative spirit that’s needed for someone to really contribute at a hackathon,” said Dr. Justin Cole, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice and director of the Center for Pharmacy Innovation (CPI) in the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. “She is a student who embodies curiosity and spirit that is marked by innovation and improvement.”

MIT’s Grand Hack is the “gold standard” for health care hackathons according to Cole. The competition includes approximately 100 students and professionals from around the world in a variety of disciplines to advance the field of health care.

After arriving, each participant will propose a project, and during a time of networking, participants will form small teams united around a particular proposal. Each team will have 48 hours to develop the concept and provide a rough demonstration and business plan to investors in the audience, who may consider funding some of the project.

“Often, the ideas that are most impactful are those that are developed collaboratively by people with varying perceptions and views on the issue,” said Cole. “This collaboration allows for ideas that are most robust, more well-developed and often have a greater chance to impact society.”

CPI has supported three Cedarville students who have attended the competition in the past, providing help with finances and the event application. When Cole was informed that MIT would be resuming an in-person competition this year, he sent an invite to pharmacy students. After speaking with them, Hong was selected.  

“She is an incredibly inquisitive individual,” Cole said, adding Hong also supported faculty members as a research assistant.

“I’m hoping to be able to learn many new perspectives on health care as it stands right now and continue to develop an innovative mindset toward the health care scenarios I might find myself in, whether at work or school,” Hong said.

“I think she’ll do a fantastic job representing Cedarville and the school of pharmacy,” Cole said.

Cole noted that there is generally one standout product each year. Previous MIT Grand Hack ideas that have come to market include PillPack (now owned by Amazon), Cake (which provides end-of-life planning), the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (an improved bag-valve-mask for newborns), Perfect Latch (a breast pump design), Arsenal Health (which assists with patient scheduling) and Podimetrics (which helps detect diabetic foot ulcers).

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Doctor of Pharmacy program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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