Lupus hackathon

Researchers from the University of Waterloo, University of Calgary, and Queens University hosted a hackathon related to enhancing the working life of individuals affected by SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus). Read the Hackathon summary report (.pdf) for a detailed description of the event.

The event involved a two-day hackathon held at the University of Waterloo on May 24thand May 25th, 2019. Hackathons aim to engage the community, generate passion, and bring together participants from a range of backgrounds to collaborate and develop solutions to complex problems. Undergraduate and graduate student participants were placed into small groups in order to generate ideas and develop possible innovative solutions to enhance the working lives of those impacted by SLE. A range of key stakeholders (e.g., physicians, patients impacted by SLE, policy makers, members of lupus organizations) were in attendance to offer their advice, share their experiences, and support the students as they progressed through the hackathon.

Waterlupus Hackathon progress update

Since the hackathon in May 2019, the winning team and runner up have continued their innovative work alongside the GreenHouse and our research team, with some notable changes.

The winning team, Shine On, welcomes the new leadership of Nati Hoyos, a University of Waterloo student. Shine On has spent time reviewing the market on ultraviolet protective clothing manufacturers in order to identify gaps and situate their own ideas, and have found possible designers to collaborate with in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Shine On has contacted 3 hackathon participants to contribute their ideas in the design phase, and are currently in the process of designing multiple clothing templates as a pilot project. Moving into 2020, Shine On will develop, with ongoing feedback from their mentors, 3 individual garments with a view to provide more clothing options for individuals with a variety of sun sensitivity concerns, and will assemble a website to promote and sell their clothing.

Team Purple, the runner up, was initially focused on creating a solution to improve the social experience of individuals with lupus by creating an online space to provide meaningful interactions and relevant employment-related discussions. Through user interviews and market research, they found that there were multiple existing solutions that already addressed this need. Team Purple decided to change direction and focus on one of the direct economic challenges associated with living with SLE. Since the hackathon, Team Purple has joined forces with another University of Waterloo student Erin Hogan, to collaborate and create a solution to address the unmet needs of securing provincial funding (e.g., the Ontario Disability Support Program) for people with long-term disabilities. Through the GreenHouse Workplace Innovation Program, Erin and Team Purple developed a web-based prototype that will simplify the ODSP forms into clear and easy-to-understand language with step-by-step instructions and opportunities for application review.

A paper on the outcomes of the hackathon has been accepted for publication in the journal Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada. An additional 14 follow up interviews with hackathon participants have been conducted, and will be analyzed. A summary of these results will be distributed to all hackathon participants, and a second manuscript will be submitted to the journal Implementation Sciencein 2020.

If you have questions, please contact Francesca Cardwell (


May 24-25, 2019


GreenHouse, St. Paul's University College, University of Waterloo

190 Westmount Rd N
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G5

Event Details

Visit the Eventbrite page to register for the hackathon.


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