Possible Project Ideas

Healthcare

More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Only in the U.S. has the rate of women who die been rising. According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes.
How do we reduce this racial gap and decrease the mortality rate?
Read: Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the US

More than half of Americans feel lonely, with 2 in 5 feeling like “they lack companionship,” that their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and that they “are isolated from others.” Loneliness has been linked with a higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It has been shown to influence our genes and our immune systems, and even recovery from breast cancer. Further, studies have found that loneliness is a predictor of premature death, not just for the elderly, but even more so for younger people.
How can we reduce loneliness?
Read: Americans Are A Lonely Lot, And Young People Bear The Heaviest Burden

Nurses are the primary hospital caregivers. Yet, a recent study finds that nurses spent just 19.3% of their with patients and only 7.2% of their assessing the patient and reading of vital signs. Most of their time was spent on documentation (35.3%), medication administration (17.2%), and care coordination (20.6%). On average, nurses walk 4-5 miles during a 12-hour shift (most Americans walk just 2.5–3 miles during the course of an 18-hour day). Health care leaders and nurses alike would prefer to reduce the number of steps a nurse takes during a shift in order to increase efficiency, decrease fatigue and increase time at the bedside.
How can we optimize nurses workflow?
Read: A 36-Hospital Time and Motion Study: How Do Medical-Surgical Nurses Spend Their Time?

Transportation

Transportation is, indeed, a barrier to good health care. Affordable access to a vehicle is consistently associated with increased access to medical care, according to a study. Around 3.6 million Americans miss doctor’s appointments or delay medical care due to a lack of transportation every year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
How can we increase access to healthcare?
Read: Uber Launches Service To Get People To The Doctor’s Office

Drivers spend a lot of time looking for parking, which in turn cause congestion. In a survey conducted by Bruce Schaller in the SoHo district in Manhattan, 28 percent of drivers interviewed while they were stopped at traffic lights said they were searching for curb parking. A similar study conducted by Transportation Alternatives in the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn found that 45 percent of drivers were cruising.
How can we decrease congestion caused by parking search?
Read: Gone Parkin’

Education

Student loan debt in the United States has more than doubled over the past decade to about $1.5 trillion, and the Federal Reserve now estimates that it is cutting into millennials’ ability to buy homes.
How can we decrease the cost of higher education?
Read: Heavy Student Loan Debt Forces Many Millennials To Delay Buying Homes

Overall, just 57% of college students obtain a degree after six years. At four-year for-profit colleges, the typical completion rate is 35%. The situation is little better at public (two-year) community colleges, where the completion rate is just 38%.
How can we increase completion rates?
Read: College Completion Rates Are Still Disappointing

Close to 74 percent of undergrads are not “traditional” students. More than 2 out of 3 college students today are not coming straight out of high school. Half are financially independent from their parents, and 1 in 4 are parents themselves. Yet, we have not changed our traditional college model.
How can we optimize the higher ed model?
Read: What Adult Learners Really Need (Hint: It’s Not Just Job Skills)

Logistics

In November 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were more than 3 million fatal and nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. Malfunction and Ongoing maintenance of machinery and equipment represents a common cause for such injuries.
How can we decrease workplace injuries?
Read: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017

As e-commerce continues to rise, the warehouse industry is expected to employ nearly 4.8 million people by 2024. Large warehouses, including Amazon, are quickly employing robots to automate the shipping and packing process. At the same time, Amazon hires more than 125,000 hourly warehouse workers. Many of those workers interviewed do not believe that their jobs could be automated, but augmented by robots.
How can robots work side by side with warehouse workers, rather than replace, workers?
Read: ‘Don’t Think A Robot Could Do This’: Warehouse Workers Aren’t Worried For Their Jobs

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