Learn more about the upcoming Hack4Cancer Hackathon in Ottawa
Health services researchers and analysts from across Canada are invited to participate in a data hackathon taking place on November 2, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Hack4Cancer Hackathon will help expand knowledge of health equity issues in the cancer system. It is a special event organized by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to run one day ahead of the 2019 Canadian Cancer Research Conference.
Our objective is to bring together participants with a variety of analytic and health research backgrounds to come up with innovative and actionable research ideas to address real-world policy problems.
Participants will compete in a time-limited and team-based analysis using a complex, linked, synthesized dataset prepared by Statistics Canada. The synthetic dataset mimics a real dataset that links the Canadian Cancer Registry (CCR) with six other administrative and survey datasets.
This groundbreaking, first of its kind data linkage, will allow users such as researchers and policy analysts to examine the impact of socioeconomic characteristics on cancer diagnoses and treatment patterns using person-level data.
All hackathon participants will qualify to submit a letter of interest for project funding that will use the CCR-linked datasets.
The preliminary agenda is now available to download.Download agenda
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Hack4Cancer Hackathon?
The Hack4Cancer Hackathon is a special event organized by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to run one day ahead of the 2019 Canadian Cancer Research Conference. The theme of the event is health equity in the cancer system.
The event brings together participants to compete in a time-limited and team-based analysis using a complex, linked, synthesized dataset prepared by Statistics Canada. The synthetic dataset mimics a real dataset that links the Canadian Cancer Registry (CCR) with six other administrative and survey datasets.
More details on the Hack4Cancer Hackathon and the agenda are available here.
Why should I participate?
Whether you are a young researcher or experienced investigator, hackathons are an excellent opportunity to expand your analytic and critical-thinking skills, network with experienced data experts and researchers, and test out new research ideas and hypotheses – all while having fun in a vibrant, excitement-filled atmosphere.
The Hack4Cancer Hackathon will allow you to access a synthetic dataset that mimics data that will soon be available to researchers across Canada at Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres. This first of its kind data linkage will allow researchers to study the impacts of socioeconomic factors on cancer diagnoses, treatment patterns and patient outcomes and more, using record-level data.
Who can attend? If I'm not a strong programmer, can I still apply?
Everyone is welcome to apply for the event. It will be of interest to health researchers, epidemiologists, statisticians, students, health analysts, health system administrators and others interested in data linkage, health equity and cancer research.
Though experience using statistical programming software is a strong asset, we are looking for a variety of participants that can bring diverse skills, knowledge and experience to their Hack4Cancer teams.
The registration deadline is September 25, 2019. Space is limited and participants must apply and be accepted to attend the event.
Can I register as a team or as an individual?
We are accepting both individual and team registrations for this event (up to a maximum of 5 people per team).
For team registrations, all team members must submit a registration form and identify one team leader. This will help us identify all members on one team.
All individual registrants will be placed in a team and provided with the contact information of their team members ahead of the event. Please connect with your team before the event to introduce yourselves, establish how you will work together, and choose a team name.
Due to limited space and qualifying criteria, only those selected to participate will receive an email confirming their acceptance. Relevant experience and skills working with health data will be considered and the timing of your application.
What do I bring?
We will provide WiFi, power outlets, flip chart paper, blank paper, markers, pens, meals and beverages at the event.
Bring any devices or equipment required to work on your project, including a laptop and charger, statistical programming software, and USB key(s).
The synthetic dataset will be provided in SAS format approximately one week ahead of the hackathon. Participants can convert the synthetic file into other formats (for example SPSS, R, STATA, etc.) as needed.
What does the synthetic dataset include?
Statistics Canada has created a synthetic dataset for this event containing a subset of simulated records generated from the Canadian Cancer Registry linked datasets. The synthetic dataset includes sociodemographic, death and surgical treatment information on individuals diagnosed with cancer.
The synthetic dataset will be provided in SAS format approximately one week ahead of the hackathon. Participants can convert the synthetic file into other formats (e.g. SPSS, R, STATA, etc.) as needed.
What datasets are included in the Canadian Cancer Registry linked datasets?
Statistics Canada and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer collaborated to link patient records in the Canadian Cancer Registry (CCR) (diagnosis years 1992 to 2015) with six other administrative and survey datasets containing sociodemographic, surgical treatment and death information. This CCR data linkage means that – for the first time ever – researchers can study the impacts of socioeconomic factors on cancer diagnoses, treatment patterns and patient outcomes, using record-level data. This linked data will be available to researchers across Canada at Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres by Winter 2020.
The following datasets are included in the CCR linked datasets:
• Discharge Abstract Database (1994/95 – 2015/16)
• National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (2002/03 – 2015/16)
• T1 Family File (tax file) (1992 – 2015)
• Longitudinal Immigration Database (1980 – 2015)
• Vital Statistics – Death Database (1992-2014)
• 2016 Census of Population Long-Form
Please note the Hack4Cancer Hackathon will use a synthetic dataset containing a simulated subset of data generated from the CCR-linked datasets.
How will the teams be judged?
A panel of up to five appointed judges will score each team’s analyses and oral presentations using pre-determined evaluation criteria. The judges will be looking for health equity-related ideas that are innovative, actionable and have potential for large system impact. Participants will be given the scoring criteria in advance for their reference.
The judges’ panel will consist of data experts, health researchers and clinicians with extensive experience working with linked data and health equity research.
Are there awards for the winners?
Winners will receive the following:
• 1st place: an honorarium of $500.00 per team member
• 2nd place: an honorarium of $350.00 per team member
• 3rd place: an honorarium of $200.00 per team member
All winning teams will be invited to present their idea at a lunch session held on the first day of the Canadian Cancer Research Conference (Sunday, November 3, 2019).
All participants will receive a welcome bag and a certificate to recognize their involvement in this event.
Will project funding be made available to participants?
In the months following the Hack4Cancer Hackathon, the Partnership will launch a competitive process requiring submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI). The funding will support one or more equity-based project(s) using the CCR-linked datasets. Participants and other interested parties will have the opportunity to respond to the EOI and work with the Partnership on this exciting work. More information on timing, funding eligibility criteria and the application process will be available as details are confirmed.
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