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Winners Announced for the 2013 Health IT Student Innovation Award

ATLANTA (November 13, 2013) – TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), the Georgia Department of Education (GaDoE), and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Needwood Middle School and Meadowcreek High School as the 2013 Student Innovation Award Winners.

Sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, this competition challenged teams from Georgia chapters of the Future Health Professionals (HOSA) and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) to develop a “healthy lifestyle” mobile app or mobile optimized website that connects people with opportunity, information and resources on preventing childhood obesity.

Four high school and three middle school teams were chosen as finalists and invited to market their applications to healthcare and industry representatives attending the Health IT Leadership Summit on November 12, 2013 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. Summit attendees selected the team with the most compelling solution through a text voting system.



Meadowcreek High School (Left) and Needwood Middle School (Right) with Dr. Michael Buck and Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.


“Technological innovation will change the way healthcare is delivered and how individuals in our state and the nation manage their own health,” Steve Hamilton, TAG Board Member and Director of Business Marketing, Verizon Wireless. “Middle and high school students using their skills and imagination to develop concepts is exciting to see, and we’re pleased to support this competition.  Verizon congratulates the participants, finalists and especially the winners.” 

This year Dr. Michael Buck, Chief Academic Officer for the Georgia Department of Education, and Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and State Health Officer, presented the award at the summit. Cash prizes were awarded to each of the finalist teams, and the grand-prize winners received an additional cash prize for their HOSA and/or FBLA chapter. 

“Georgia ranks 17th in the nation for childhood obesity, but the key to turning this number around is right here,” Dr. Fitzgerald said at the summit. “You will help us to connect with Georgia’s young people in an environment they’re very familiar with – a digital environment. Your work has the potential to help Georgia reverse its course and reduce the awful burden of childhood obesity.  Thank you to all of you.”

To demo the winning high school project, visit

To view the winning middle school project, visit

The other high school finalists included: Harris County High School, Worth County High School and Coffee County High School. Middle school finalists included Chestatee Academy and Simpson Middle School.  Five of the seven finalists were from outside the metro-Atlanta area.


About TAG Education Collaborative

TAG Education Collaborative initiatives include a student internship program, the WEBChallenge competition for high school students, and the Vine Event, a fundraiser launched in 2009 which has raised more than $80,000 to support STEM education. The TAG Education Collaborative provides middle school and high school programs designed to provide these students with hands-on activities that enable them to gain an appreciation for the opportunities available in STEM careers. For additional information, visit TAG Education Collaborative or contact Michael Robertson at (404) 920 – 2038 or


About the Georgia Department of Public Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and wellbeing; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. In 2011, the General Assembly restored DPH to its own state agency after more than 30 years of consolidation with other departments. At the state level, DPH functions through numerous divisions, sections, programs and offices. Locally, DPH funds and collaborates with Georgia's 159 county health departments and 18 public health districts. Through the changes, the mission has remained constant – to protect the lives of all Georgians. Today, DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information about DPH, visit

About the Georgia Department of Education (GaDoE)

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) oversees public education throughout the state. The Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Division of the GADoE is responsible for the career and leadership development of students in middle and high schools. The department works with the nine Career Technical Student Organizations (CTOs) to enrich the curriculum in the CTAE Pathways. Many of these CTOs are state chapters of national organizations. Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) provides opportunities for students to develop vocational and career-supportive skills. Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) enhances the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of all health occupations students. For more information, visit

About The Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information, visit


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