Our Mission

The mission of the Rice Health Policy Hackathon is to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to design policy proposals that address health disparities in Houston. Students will direct the knowledge they have gained through their curriculum and experiences towards creating solutions for our healthcare system and empowering their most vulnerable community members.


This 36-hour virtual health policy hackathon aims to address health disparities faced by marginalized groups, such as low-income people of color. These populations are the hardest hit by public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic due to their lack of resources resulting from long-standing systemic oppression.

Professionals and professors in the public policy, medicine, public health, and social work fields will guide students in policy creation. Teams will each submit a policy memo detailing their proposal as well as give a 3-minute pitch to a panel of local stakeholders. Judges will select 2 winning teams, who will have the opportunity to intern with Harris Health on population health initiatives.

This hackathon is meant to be more than just an intellectual exercise: we want all of you to effect positive change in your community.

Why Houston?

We are limiting the policies to Houston because the best policy proposals are focused, specific, and acknowledge local programs and initiatives. No blanket policy can be effective. If we look deep into our own community, where we have already forged strong connections and know exactly who our target audience is, we can cultivate fitting solutions to our most pertinent problems.

Thank You

We would like to thank all of our partner institutions, keynote speakers, judges, and mentors for believing in this project and dedicating so much time to this event. We would like to give special thanks to the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) for their generous $10,000 donation, to EHF President Elena Marks and to Professor Melissa Marschall in the Rice Social Policy Analysis Department for their role in mentoring the organizers, and to our Harris Health mentors and judges for their willingness to work with and empower us. We could not have done this without your support.