Health Lab

Through a multidisciplinary approach, we are shifting from the mainstream notion of health as disease management into the broader notion of the civic and social health of our society. In our Lab we catalyze innovations that address the civic roots of health disparities: improving public health by working toward a healthy public.

A healthy public is one where all individuals feel a part of the whole, can be active in institutions, and have access to resources essential for a stable life. Our projects in the Health Lab therefore focus on civic interventions that are designed and deployed for the health of our public including:

  • Civic Cohesion

  • Political Participation

  • Access to Resources

To create a healthy public, we believe solutions must integrate technology as a tool to mobilize people with similar challenges, provide mutual support networks, address social determinants of mental health issues, and cultivate community engagement.

The Healthy Public Project

In August 2016, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Civic Hall Labs launched the Healthy Public Project and Healthy Public Challenge to catalyze innovation in addressing the civic roots of health disparities.

The Challenge invited entrepreneurs, designers, developers, academics, and the public at large to consider how to leverage technology to create a healthier public. We received an incredibly diverse group of submissions, and are thrilled to have selected ten winning teams to join Civic Hall Labs and the Experts in Residence for advising and collaboration over the next six months.

The civic innovators winning the challenge are representative of the robust field of civic tech. The winning innovations utilize mobile applications, data visualization, digital literacy, and other strategies toward an important group of issues that includes combating gender-based violence, challenging police misconduct, increasing civic participation, and supporting tenants rights organizing.

Each civic innovator team will now participate in a six month advisory period, which includes mentorship from the Civic Hall Labs Experts in Residence. Each team will also receive $10,000 to further build their solutions into viable prototypes that can make real impact in the health of our public.


Click images below to learn more about the 2016 Healthy Public Challenge Civic Innovators. 

Experts In Residence

Alistair Blake

Alistair Blake Alistair Blake is a New York State licensed psychotherapist who has extensive experience with children, adolescents and families, college students, and populations with severe and persistent mental illness. He currently serves as Program Director for Brooklyn Community Services, Metro Club Pros, where he manages a staff of 17 in developing and implementing treatment in an outpatient program. Previous roles included managing day to day program operations, clinical and administrative, including training and staff development, as Assistant Program Director at The Child Center Of New York and Clinical Manager of Counseling and Behavioral Health Services for 8,000 students at New York University's Student Health Center. In that role, he supervised clinical and administrative staff, provided individual and group psychotherapy to students, and acted as Liaison to Associate Dean and the Academic Advising Center regarding care, tracking and reporting of crisis or emergent situations. Mr. Blake earned his Master of Clinical Social Work degree from Smith College School for Social Work and received his BA from the University at Albany-State University of New York. Mr. Blake has maintained an active private practice for 13 years, and has served as Adjunct Faculty and Lecturer for New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. He has lectured and presented to colleges and community organizations on Domestic Violence. Mr. Blake also serves as an advisor to two early stage businesses in the Internet of Things (IoT) and tech space focusing on safety, health and wellness.

Dr. Mindy Fullilove

Dr. Mindy FulliloveDr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a board-certified psychiatrist who is interested in the links between the environment and mental health. She started her research career in 1986 with a focus on the AIDS epidemic, and became aware of the close link between AIDS and place of residence. Under the rubric of the psychology of place, Dr. Fullilove began to examine the mental health effects of such environmental processes as violence, rebuilding, segregation, urban renewal, and mismanaged toxins. She has published numerous articles and six books including "Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities," "Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It," and "House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place."

Dr. Jack Saul

Jack Saul Ph.D, is the director of the International Trauma Studies Program (ITSP) and Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. As a psychologist and family therapist he has created numerous programs for populations that have endured war, torture and political violence, including the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, the FEMA funded Post 9/11 Downtown Community Resource Center in Lower Manhattan, REFUGE: Refugee Resource Center, and Theater Arts Against Political Violence. He has written about this work in his recently published book, Collective Trauma, Collective Healing: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster (Routledge, 2013). Dr. Saul co-directs the Summer Institute Global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support at Teachers College, Columbia University, and consults to humanitarian, human rights, and media organizations on staff stress management.