Dallas Health Wildcatters CEO Launches Health Hacking Crisis Network to Put Community Skills and Ideas to Action

Hubert Zajicek wants to tap the strong innovation community in North Texas to share know-how, combat shortages, and come up with new solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE: In April, Health Hacking Crisis Network launched a new website to connect people in a response to a need to innovate swiftly during the COVID-19 crisis, according to HHCN founder Hubert Zajicek. (In the interest of speed, the network originally launched as a Facebook Group.) HHCN now has been incorporated as a Texas Non-profit organization, run solely by volunteers, and currently supports six different initiatives related to the pandemic. You’ll find 3-D printing, cloth masks, face shields, respirator masks, snorkel masks, and language infographic. The mission, however remains: Zajicek wants to activate our network of resources and innovators to bring aid during the crisis. Go here to volunteer or donate.

Hubert Zajicek knows that we have a strong innovation community here in North Texas that can have an impact—not only locally, but globally. Zajicek, who runs Dallas-based accelerator Health Wildcatters, also believes we have to act fast to find solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zajicek, himself a trained physician, has started a new group called Health Hacking Crisis Network to share knowledge and actionable ideas. His goal is to connect like-minded people to facilitate collaboration and help coordinate an exchange of know-how in the current crisis. 

“This effort is about connecting the right people to make things happen if and when we need anything addressed,” he says.

The new group, launched Thursday, welcomes physicians and health professionals, engineers, biomedical and others, medtech professionals, students, and business professionals—really anyone who believes they can contribute, he says. And there’s a particular need for those who have access to useful equipment in order to solve emergency healthcare issues quickly. 

In just 24 hours, the group has pushed past more than 100 talented volunteers, Zajicek says. “The first ideas are being worked on.” The group was officially launched through the Health Wildcatters email list and its social media contacts.

Innovators coming together for new solutions

Zajicek sees the Health Hacking Crisis Network as a group of people who can contribute their skills to solve problems, shortages, and come up with new solutions having to do with an acute situation.

“Examples are like the Italian example of engineers sharing CAD files to build a critical part via 3D printing,” he says. “Many different skills are needed, from engineering to medicine (all subspecialties), from medical device expertise to statistics. Other skills could be in 3D rendering, 3D printing, but also bioengineering, biotechnology.”

Early members of the group already include most of these fields, but “we’re just at the beginning,” he told Dallas Innovates via email.

“We will want web-developers, coders, designers, and folks who help us spread the word. It is the expressed goal to have a rapid reaction force and brain trust that we can call upon in times of crisis, just like now,” he says. “We are defining next steps as we speak to enable virtual meetings with speakers and discussions online.”

To keep it simple, Zajicek says he decided to start the network on Facebook.

While the group was launched by Zajicek personally, he calls it a community effort. “Health Wildcatters will support it with all the resources we have been blessed with.”

Zajicek invites—encourages—others to join him in the effort to build the resource network. 

“If you have an interest in contributing to solutions to the current crisis, join this group to meet and converse with like-minded people,” he says. “This effort is about connecting the right people to make things happen if/when we need anything addressed. Please share this group with anyone you know who is a doer, and has the right talents, training, or access to provide help and solutions.”

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