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Hackathons and design thinking are new to public health education. To find out more about our Hackathon see the below FAQs.

Hackathons are time-sensitive, multi-day events where teams are formed to create, develop, and present solutions to specific problems.

A standard Hackathon will involve participants, often students, from specific fields or disciplines, who create working drafts that address a specific challenge related to an overall theme. Teams present their idea to a panel of judges and/or audience to win prizes. Hackathons inspire creativity, collaboration, and foster problem-solving by applying Design Thinking to our world’s wicked problems. 

UQVentures of the University of Queensland are expert at running hackathons and other innovative events. See their website for example of past events. 

Design Thinking provides additional tools to break down wicked problems into solvable components. Design Thinking enables teams to examine a problem in new ways through creative, iterative processes. Students will learn the importance of breaking down a large, complicated problem into smaller aspects which can addressed, recognising there is no one elixir for any problem. 

At the CAPHIA Public Health Hackathon, the challenges will relate to: 

  • Creating safe spaces in the communities that we belong
  • Supporting men and boys to take action and become allies in preventing domestic and family violence
  • Changing gender beliefs and attitudes in our communities

As with all public health initiatives, solutions work in concert with one another. This Hackathon will teach students to apply their public health knowledge and skills to a practical issue with the guidance from both public health and domestic violence experts, as well as Design Thinking mentors. 

The Public Health Hackathon will be delivered in-person at the University of Queensland St Lucia campus in Brisbane, Queensland on September 24-26, 2024. It will be facilitated by UQVentures and will be located at the award-winning CGI building. (Take the tour)

Alongside your Hackathon team, and with support from early career academics and mentors across various disciplines, you will be challenged to ‘hack’ innovative ways to address the theme, “Preventing Domestic Violence”. Your team can focus on one of three challenges to promote domestic violence prevention: 

  • Creating safe spaces in communities
  • Engaging men and boys as allies
  • Changing gender beliefs and attitudes

Over the Hackathon’s three days, participants will engage in learning sessions to introduce the problem and become trained in Design Thinking to develop capabilities with a ‘social innovation toolset’. Teams will also have the chance to design and develop their ideas from these learning sessions. The Hackathon will conclude with every team pitching their idea at the CAPHIA Teaching and Learning Forum, attended by hundreds of public health delegates across Australasia. Your presentation will be appraised by a panel of expert judges with intimate understanding of innovation and design. 

Teams will have the opportunity to win a prize for their innovative solutions.

Meals and snacks will be provided throughout the three days. 

Domestic Violence is a Public Health Issue

Public health addresses complex societal structures and conditions that significantly impact human health on a large scale. CAPHIA’s inaugural Public Health Hackathon has chosen the theme, “Preventing Domestic Violence” to showcase how this issue is the epitome of a “wicked” societal problem (Husso et. al, 2020). 

Domestic violence is, by definition, a public health issue. In 2024, one woman is murdered every four days in Australia (Hewson et. al, 2024). In 2022-23, Queensland Police responded to 171,806 domestic violence call-outs, and this figure continues to rise exponentially — from June 2023 to March 2024, over 144,319 calls were recorded (Riga, 2024). Domestic violence contributes to more morbidity and mortality in Australian women aged 25-44 years than any other preventable risk factor, and has an economic burden of $21.7 billion every year (Our Watch, 2024).

Domestic violence has severe impacts on the education and development of affected children (Noble-Carr et. al, 2019), and isolates victim-survivors from support networks (Boxall & Morgan, 2021). In particular, priority populations experience domestic violence at disproportionately higher rates, with more substantial barriers against accessing care (AIHW, 2022). These factors contribute to lifelong health and well-being challenges (AIHW, 2024) and intergenerational trauma (Lünnemann et. al, 2019). 

Domestic violence stems from complex causes that span across disciplines and levels of health. For public health students, understanding domestic violence against public health frameworks is essential to create solutions for change. 

Everyone has a role to play in addressing domestic violence.

CAPHIA’s Public Health Hackathon is the first of its kind for public health students in Australasia, following in the footsteps of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Hackathons. Public health students are uniquely equipped with knowledge of:

  • The determinants of health;
  • Health prevention and promotion;
  • Systems thinking, and;
  • Applying program design to target populations.

These skills, combined with a Design Thinking approach taught during the Hackathon, will create space for public health students to ideate innovative solutions that address a component of domestic violence. 

Hackathons are not designed to re-invent the wheel — CAPHIA supports the Change the Story and Changing the Picture frameworks for prevention and advocates for full investment in its delivery. The Hackathon provides an opportunity for students to take an active role in addressing domestic violence.

For references, see below:

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2024, April 12). Health outcomes. Family, domestic, and sexual violence. 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Family, domestic and sexual violence: National data landscape 2022. 

Boxall, H., & Morgan, A. (2021). Experiences of coercive control among Australian women. Australian Institute of Criminology. 

Hewson, G., Alvaro, A., Goodwin, S.T., & Boscaini, J. (2024, April 27). Advocates demand violence against women be declared ‘national emergency’. ABC News. 

Husso, M., Notko, M., Virkki, T., Holma, J., Laitila, A., & Siltala, H. (2021). Domestic Violence Interventions in Social and Health Care Settings: Challenges of Temporary Projects and Short-Term Solutions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(23-24), 11461-11482. 

Lünnemann, M.K.M., Horst, F.C. P.V.d., Prinzie, P., Luijk, M.P.C.M., & Steketee, M. (2019). The intergenerational impact of trauma and family violence on parents and their children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 96, 104134. 

Noble-Carr, D., Moore, T., & McArthur, M. (2020). Children’s experiences and needs in relation to domestic and family violence: Findings from a meta-synthesis. Child & Family Social Work, 25(1), 182-191. 

Our Watch. (2024, February). Quick Facts. Our Watch. 

Participants must meet a strict eligibility criteria to secure a place in the CAPHIA Public Health Hackathon. You must be:

  • Part of a team of 4-5 current public health students (undergraduate and postgraduate welcome!) from one of CAPHIA’s member institutions. See the list of our members here.
  • Prepared to bring your creative spirit to inspire change!

Due to limited numbers, CAPHIA and UQVentures reserve the right to cancel registrations for ineligible applicants. We are a very small charity and do not receive government funding. 

CAPHIA are a small registered charity and do not receive government funding. To make this Hackathon possible we are calling on value-aligned organisations to support this innovative event. Visit our Hackathon Partners page and read our Hackathon Prospectus to find out more.

The world of public health is a big place! If you’re passionate about learning how to take your public health knowledge and translate it into real-life practice, the CAPHIA Public Health Hackathon is the event for you!

At the Public Health Hackathon, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Connect in-person with other students, academics and mentors across Australasia
  • Build your network of public health professionals
  • Apply your public health knowledge and experience to address a real world problem that can directly help victim-survivors of domestic violence
  • Be mentored by public health experts, community leaders and innovators in the sector and beyond
  • Have the opportunity to apply Design Thinking to a wicked problem in real-time, and witness how your impact has the capacity for change!
  • Learn skills beyond your tertiary curriculum that will directly help you in your future career as a public health leader
  • Have the chance to win monetary prizes for your innovative ideas!

Public health is an important field that spans across various disciplines and levels of health, all over the world. It can seem like a daunting path to tackle, but until you take that first step, you’ll never know how far you can fly! The CAPHIA Public Health Hackathon is an opportunity to connect with like-minded students who will be the public health leaders of tomorrow!

Learn more about domestic violence prevention:

Has this raised an issue you would like to discuss?

Please see the below support mechanisms. In person support will also be available during the Hackathon.