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First Step Program

Innovative Student Solutions to Challenging Health Issues

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Have a great idea for an innovative way to promote healthy living?

Got a plan for a new process or design that would revolutionize health care delivery?

We want to hear it!

The CHS Dean’s Office will be funding innovative student projects focused on addressing challenging health issues.

All applications and questions to jmreed@udel.edu

First Step – Social Innovation

Important Dates
Project Proposal Due Date September 26, 2014
Project Proposal Award Date October 13, 2014
Written Project Report Due Date March 13, 2015
to jmreed@udel.edu
Oral/PowerPoint Project Result Presentations March 25, 2015 -
March 27, 2015
Awards' symposium for outstanding projects April 24, 2015 at 6:30PM in the STAR Campus Atrium


fill out application

Examples of projects include but are not limited to: biomedical research, medical practice, health advocacy, health policy, health management, health informatics, community-based research or related health areas. The solutions may be a device or product, a business model, an organization, a policy or a process or procedure that offers an improvement to health care or healthy living, but are not limited to those categories. There are a variety of approaches that could be developed, including developing new health care policies, inventing a device, outlining a change in best practices, developing new and better ways to evaluate outcomes. In addition, there are ideas that might be developed as intellectual property or small start-up businesses.

First Step in the Press


The College of Health Sciences invites CHS undergraduate students, or teams of students led by a CHS undergraduate, to (a) identify important challenges in healthcare and healthy living and (b) develop novel solutions to those challenges.

Students will prepare a proposal application that focuses on an important aspect of health care, develop a potential solution to that problem, and present their solution for review. CHS will provide $500 funding to each of the top 20 applications to identify a health care problem and articulate a potential solution to that problem.

The students will have six months to develop their solution, which could be a policy, application, device or best practice, but is not limited to those categories. Written reports and oral presentations of the student’s or team’s results and solution will be evaluated by a faculty committee.

All students will be invited to present their solutions at a public symposium in the form of a poster, where the top three students will give a short oral presentation and cash prizes of $1500, $1000 and $500 awarded to the top three students or teams. Students and Teams will be connected with experts order to develop a dialogue about the merits of their ideas and how they can move forward to pursue and further develop their ideas. If students develop applications or devices that they feel warrant consideration as intellectual property or patent protection, they should communicate this fact to their faculty advisor two months in advance of the symposium presentation (April 25, 2014) so that appropriate paperwork can be filled out in order to protect their ideas or invention.

Award Process

These 3-5 page applications should be submitted to the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Office via email (chs-info@udel.edu) by 5:00 pm, September 26, 2014. They will be reviewed by a committee of 5 faculty members for merit, and the top 20 students or student teams will be awarded up to $500 to pursue their research project idea. Students will be assigned a faculty project advisor and will meet with the advisor once per month to provide updates on progress.

Use of Funds

Funds may be used to purchase resource information, travel, expenses related to interviews of patients, and expenses associated with team meetings or other uses related to the development of the project solution. Funds may not be used for enrollment fees, salaries or personal living expenses.

Completion of Project

At the end of the 6 months, a 3-5 page report will be provided to the Associate Dean of Research by 5:00 pm, March 13, 2015 and students will be responsible for (a) preparing their report in the form of a poster (CHS will assist) and creating a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the research health challenge they addressed, the reason the problem is significant, current approaches and then the student or teams suggested approach, which should also be provided. These reports will be evaluated by the awards committee in order to prepare the committee for oral presentations.

Presentation of Results

The students will also present their results in the form of a PowerPoint presentation to the review committee for evaluation (March 25, 2015). Projects will be reviewed based on (a) the significance of the problem to be addressed, (b) innovation, (c) practical ability to develop the idea and apply the solution to real world problems. The committee will rank the top 3 projects based on the review criteria and the quality of their written and oral presentations.


All presentations will be prepared as a poster and displayed at a public symposium on April 25, 2015. The top 3 projects will be invited to summarize their results at the symposium and prizes awarded for 1st place ($1500), 2nd place ($1000) and 3rd place ($500) to the winning student or team.

The symposium will take place at a venue that will provide dinner for students and teams, faculty participants and invited guests.


After the awards are made, the winning student or teams will be directed to interact with experts in the area of their study in order to help the student or team to understand how their idea might be implemented or developed and applied for real world applications. Students may elect to develop their ideas in undergraduate or graduate research training programs, or in the private sector.

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    Phone: 302-831-2381  •  © 2014
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