Knight Foundation National Tour

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:01am

Community Health Data Challenge

A Community Health Data Challenge this Wednesday, September 11th seeks to harness the power of data to advance Wisconsin health. As part of a national tour to 21 cities, John Bracken, the Director of Media Innovation for the Knight Foundation, will be visiting Madison to describe the foundation's current $2 million health challenge. A coalition of Wisconsin partners, including the City of Madison, is hosting the event in hopes of sparking collaborations between local government, healthcare, and technology experts.

"Madison is a hub for health innovation," said Mayor Paul Soglin, "Everyone from health experts to entrepreneurs are invited to help us put Madison's best foot forward in this challenge. Harnessing data has the potential to revolutionize how our city builds health into the everyday lives of our residents."

Submissions to the national challenge are due online by 5pm EST on September 17th at Event organizers hope to facilitate a healthy brainstorm and support numerous strong applications from Wisconsin groups. The $2 million in funding will be split by winning projects along with $200,000 in companion prizes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Data Consortium, the California Healthcare Foundation, and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative.

"We need everyone's skills to make public health work." said Kyle Pfister, founder of Ninjas for Health, a sponsor of the event. "When our technology savvy neighbors join forces with health advocates, innovation makes our community a healthier place to live."

The Challenge is being sponsored by The City of Madison, Public Health Madison Dane County, 100state, Ninjas for Health, Hardin Design & Development, and the UW Applied Population Lab. The event is open to the public and a free lunch from Wisconsin From Scratch will be provided. Seats are limited to 50, so registration is required at

"We know that factors like affordable housing, pedestrian and bike-friendly streets, quality childcare and access to healthy foods are critical to community health," said Mary Michaud, Director of Community Health at Public Health Madison & Dane County. "Health-related data has extraordinary potential to help us improve these factors in our own neighborhoods, to magnify our influence on health."

The Knight Foundation fosters innovative approaches to increasing community engagement, emphasizing technology solutions. John Bracken, Director of Media Innovation, has over 10 years experience as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, innovation and global internet freedom, having previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.


  • Alder Scott Resnick608-807-7962
  • Kyle Pfister608-628-5672