HealthCamping in Maryland
For the uninitiated, the "camp" model (also known as barcamp) of conferencing has its roots in a techie/geeky period in California a few years back involving benevolent hackers, sleeping bags and a publisher of tech books. (This Wikipedia entry explains it better than I can in a few short words).
It's meant to be a format where people from diverse backgrounds and with varying skill sets meet on the day of a conference and pretty much decide what they want to talk about.... that day.
In Baltimore, we've seen a couple of "camp"-style conferences in the past two years, with more to come, including BarCamp Baltimore on Saturday (June 20th) at the University of Baltimore, where geeky people from all walks of life are expected to congregate and talk about what they all likely hope will be cool interesting things that could help trigger new ideas, startups, and programs in Baltimore.
(Yes, B'more geeks: You counted corrrectly. That's not one, but TWO camps later this week.)
Recently, I caught up with Mark Scrimshire, who's been busy organizing HealthCamp Maryland, which will take place this Friday (June 19) at Stevenson University in Owings Mills. (He's @ekivemark on Twitter, btw.)
Last year, his first year organizing it, about 8-10 people came. HealthCamp, Mark tells me, is about getting people with diverse backgrounds and interests in tackling the country's health care problems into the same room to hash out groundbreaking new approaches.
"I describe myself as chief instigator and troublemaker," Scrimshire told me. "I'm deliberately trying to bring together these different communities. I do want doctors and nurses to come along. I do want administrators, and software startups and entreprenuers."
This year, more than 40 people are listed as attending, including representatives. Scrimshire is expecting representatives from the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, community activists and techies who work in the health care field.
When not doing his day job (web strategy) at Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield, he's been busy helping organize other HealthCamps across the U.S., and in Canada and the U.K.
If you can't make HealthCamp Maryland this Friday, you can probably follow along on Twitter, by searching for "Tweets" under this hash tag: #hcmd09.
At least according to some of Mark's recent Tweets over the past day, it looks like he's trying to move the ball further along by organizing a foundation to promote HealthCamps across the world.
HealthCamp, in its own words:
HealthCamp is a user-organized "un--conference" movement that brings consumers, health providers, health industry experts and technology professionals together for a one day event to exchange ideas informally, locally, openly. Participants themselves provide the content, with break-out sessions they develop themselves and plug into a schedule grid on the day of the event. Anyone can present and host a session in nearly any format.
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