Dementia Doctor wins Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Missouri’s Fourth District

Rep. Vicky Hartzler has named Jiya Shetty of Rock Bridge High School and Andrew Romitti of Rock Bridge High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Missouri’s Fourth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Dementia Doctor, the students said, ”We have both seen dementia ravage our families and communities. Still, the technology countering Alzheimer’s is very little compared to other mainstream diseases. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis often incites a sense of despondency. My own family experienced this hopelessness when my late great-grandmother’s cognitive state deteriorated so far that she couldn’t recognize her children or grandchildren, much less me. I remember visiting her in my grandfather’s home at the age of nine, a few months before she passed away. I tugged on her nightgown, asking her if she could fold origami boats with me like she used to, but all she did was blankly stare into space. Drew saw a similar experience with his grandfather. Where all he did was sit in his rocking chair and have to be entirely assisted by his grandmother. He could barely do simple functions anymore, not even remembering who his own grandchild even was. Drew’s grandfather didn’t get his dementia diagnosed fast enough and died before the official diagnosis was released. Since Alzheimer’s is currently incurable, all we could do was watch as their final chapter of life unfolded. The Dementia Doctor aims to chip away at this insurmountable disease by providing doctor’s faster, easier, and more reliable ways to diagnose dementia in patients. At least then, patients will be able to reverse dementia’s effects if they can or get treatment to alleviate their condition at the very least. Additionally, when Alzheimer’s is diagnosed at earlier stages, patients are able to enroll in clinical trials earlier, furthering Alzheimer’s research. The speed and efficiency that Dementia Doctor provides are what my grandmother and Drew’s grandfather desperately needed to get help as soon as possible, and it is hard to swallow that 6.5 million other people have to struggle as well. We were inspired to make a change, and we believe that Dementia doctor is a step in the right direction.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.