LAFAYETTE - On April 27-28, a coalition of public and private partners gather in Lafayette, LA at the first annual CajunCodeFest to collaborate on building innovative applications to fight rising childhood obesity rates.

This two-day coding competition is being produced by the Center for Business and Information Technologies (CBIT) at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette with support from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, FiberCorps, Health 2.0, and leading healthcare innovators like Microsoft, Intel, TEDMED, AT&T, Northrop Grumman, among others.

"Competing teams will have just over 24 hours to analyze data, brainstorm ideas, and create digital prototypes," said Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, director of CBIT. "We believe that through the power of data innovation CajunCodeFest participants will be able to create new solutions for helping fight rising childhood obesity rates."

At stake is a $25,000 cash prize and automatic entry into the third annual US Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC in June. The stakes are even higher for the nation's children: one in three kids between ages 2-19 is overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Direct medical costs for treating overweight and obese children are estimated at $3 billion per year

CajunCodeFest has already attracted a sellout crowd of over 175 participants including software developers, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs from 29 cities, 9 states, and 2 countries, drawing competitors from as far afield as Germany. "We're partnering with UL Lafayette on the CajunCodeFest to showcase our commitment to improving health outcomes in Louisiana through innovation." said Bruce Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

The event will feature a world-class array of speakers, including:

  • Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the United States
  • Bruce D. Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Departmentt of Health and Hospitals
  • Jay Walker, founder of and curator of TEDMED
  • Sean Nolan, chief architect of the Health Solutions Group, Microsoft Corp.
  • Jared Quoyeser, Americas Healthcare Industry Manager Intel Corp.

CajunCodeFest is part of Innov8, an eight-day series of events highlighting local innovation in Lafayette ranging from digital media to entrepreneurship to cultural arts. Innov8 is held in conjunction with Festival International de Louisiane, a celebration of Francophone music, which recently won the distinction of's best world music festival.

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