The first Sex::Tech hackathon

I’m on the board of ISIS, a wonderful organization led by the irrepressible  Deb Levine, that helps deal head on with issues of youth sexuality, mediated by technology. The annual conference is in three weeks, and there’s a hackathon the day before — Matthew Holt

ISIS is hosting our first ever hack-a-thon, together with our partners TechSoup. A hack-a-thon is a live event bringing together developers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs to build exciting new apps and tools, in this case to improve young people’s health and wellness.

Theme: The Unmentionables

This short and focused event – 1 day only – will result in the rapid development of interesting concepts and working prototypes that will be developed further by the participating teams back at their desks and at future hack-a-thon events, with ISIS and TechSoup as partners for future product development and distribution.

Challenge: Design an app to solve the challenge of providing honest, real-time, private data from youth and young adults about “unmentionable” activities, like sexual behavior, substance use, sadness, and relationship drama to researchers and program experts who work with youth.

Date: March 31st, 2012

Location: TechSoup. 525 Brannan, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94107-1632

Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grand Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation

Speakers: Researchers from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Program specialists from ISIS, Inc.; Hack-a-thon experts from Health 2.0 and TechSoup


  • A chance to meet like-minded innovators and connect around critical issues in adolescent health.
  • An opportunity to sharpen your skills and develop new ones.
  • Oh, and a grand prize of $1,000 cash.

Registration:Registration is free. Click here to register today (form at the bottom of the page).

Registrants are encouraged to sign up and attend ISIS’ annual Sex::Tech conference, beginning April 1-3rd in San Francisco where the hack-a-thon winners and concepts will be announced.

Background: The health field has been trying to prevent the most common adolescent and young adult health problems since time began: sexually transmitted diseases, depression, substance abuse and dating violence. By the age of 25, more than 90% of young adults will have experienced more than one of these problems, and for some youth, the consequences will be lifelong (infertility, homelessness, brain injuries, etc.).

It’s almost impossible to know what works in terms of prevention efforts, as health researchers rely on survey answers given by youth after the fact with questions such as: How many times did you use a condom for sex in the last six months? Now, really, who remembers?

We want to put the best and brightest minds in tech behind the solution. We want an app where young people are enticed and excited to share their Unmentionable data – data about the whos, whats, wheres and whens of their risk behaviors – in the moment or soon after.