DMC Engineer & Team Named IBM Call for Code 2019 Global Finalist

DMC Engineer & Team Named IBM Call for Code 2019 Global Finalist

DMC systems engineer Xuelong Mu, along with his team, Kevin Kim, Tony Park, Sunjae Shim, and Christopher McKinney, were named amongst the top five finalists for IBM's 2019 Call for Code. Their project, Healios, is, "an online platform that uses a conversational interface and AI to help connect those who need mental healthcare with the right caseworker."  

We sat down with Xuelong for a quick Q&A to find out all about their team's awesome project. 

Q&A: All About Healios

What inspired you to make Healios?
When brainstorming ideas for the Call for Code challenge, my team realized there were many existing services addressing the visible effects of natural disasters, such as property damage, infrastructure failure, and physical injury. While buildings, power, and roads are often restored, in the end, it’s the people who bring communities back to life after a natural disaster. We believe that addressing the mental health of survivors and equipping them with the right resources to process their trauma will allow all people and communities to more effectively recover after a disaster.

Who is on your team?
Our team is composed of Kevin Kim (front-end developer), Tony Park (backend developer and data scientist), Sunjae Shim (psychology researcher), Christopher McKinney (communications strategist), and myself (team lead and mobile developer).

What cool technologies did you use?
We used several cutting-edge IBM Watson technologies in our project. Watson Assistant powers our chatbot, which performs immediate triage and onboarding for new users. Watson Natural Language Understanding processes patient responses after counseling sessions and gauges patient emotional levels over time, including stress, anxiety, anger, and fear. Additionally, we use React for our web app, Python / Flask for our backend, React Native for the mobile app, and Google Firebase for our real-time chat database.

How is this project going to help people?
Currently, over 200 million people worldwide are affected by natural disasters every year, and we want to provide high-quality mental healthcare for all those affected. By streamlining the process for survivors to connect with counselors, we hope to build a platform that can scale efficiently to accommodate new patients while keeping the service accessible for everyone. We also hope that this radical new approach will destigmatize therapy and change the way people think about taking care of their mental health.

Check out the team’s interview with IBM, and the IBM Developer Blog to read more.

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