Mental health data model wins first Data for Good competition

Mental health data model wins first Data for Good competition


July 29, 2020





Western Sydney University (WSU) students have developed a data model for the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) to identify poor mental health service access in drought affected rural Australia.

Analytics students from University of Western Sydney win $10,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors Service

The students showcased the initiative as the winning entrants for the inaugural Data for Good initiative - a partnership between digital services company RXP Group (ASX: RXP) and Alteryx for Good.

As part of the program, Ishita Khaitan, Shivang Panchal and Vinay Attri, students in the Masters in Business Analytics program at WSU, created an Alteryx data model with spatial analytics to identify the top six drought hit locations where there were not any mental health service providers for the RFDS.

In addition to winning $10,000 for the RFDS, the team’s insights will be now be studied by RFDS health planners ahead of a possible role out of mental health services to meet demand in the drought impacted communities.

David Alley, Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the Royal Flying Doctors Service said:

“We know that mental health in rural areas hit by the drought is a significant issue and the RFDS is always looking at how we can enhance our services to meet those needs. Thanks to the data modelling done by the students, our planners can now make more informed decisions on where these services can be directed. I want to congratulate and thank them for the care and diligence they have shown in this Data for Good initiative.”

Each of the four participating teams presented the results of their findings to a panel of expert judges including Ian Oppermann, Industry Professor, UTS; Hani Koshaji, General Manager, Strategy & Technology, Chief Data Office, nbn; Douglas Nicol, Strategy Partner at The Works, part of RXP Group; Peter Grainger, Insight Practice National Director, RXP Group and Vaishali Vijay, Technology Evangelist, Alteryx.

Speaking of the winning entry, Ian Oppermann said: “It is wonderful to see people literally using data for good purposes. The RFDS team not only generated interesting insights from their data, but they also showed that these insights could be used to prioritise actions. Great work.”

The Data for Good initiative saw students from WSU and University of New South Wales compete to develop a data-driven idea to unlock targeted insights for NFP organisations including The Smith Family, Foodbank Australia, R U OK? and the

RFDS.Students were provided with curated datasets and project objectives for their not-for-profit which were supplemented with ABS data. Through the Alteryx for Good program, each team received Alteryx Designer licences and training from members of the data science team at nbn and the RXP Group. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions many of the mentoring sessions and the final presentations had to be held virtually.

Kevin Brough, Group Executive - Northern Region at RXP added:

“We have been blown away by the depth of data insights the students have produced for each of the not-for-profits they worked on, particularly during this challenging time when face to face contact has been limited. The attention and response to each brief was exemplary and what’s even more pleasing is that a number of the not-for- profits, including the RFDS, are now looking at ways to implement these insights to help the communities they serve. I want to thank Alteryx, nbn and all of the students for making this initiative a reality and we look forward to bringing Data for Good back again next year.”

“Our business is built on the thrill of solving problems through data science and analytics, and that’s exactly what these teams have done,” said Julian Quinn, senior vice president of sales, Asia Pacific region at Alteryx. “We knew this initiative had the potential to discover something exciting, but all of the teams really overachieved in terms of their innovative use of the Alteryx Platform and uncovering insights that can immediately begin to add real value to each of the not-for-profit organizations.”

Alteryx will produce two podcasts, including one that charts the experiences of each student team and one that focuses on the outcomes achieved for the NFPs, for its Alter.Everything podcast series.

Quinn and Brough jointly announced the program during a session hosted by Alteryx Chief Customer Officer and Co-founder, Olivia Duane Adams, alongside a number of the NFP partners at the Alteryx Inspire APAC event held in Sydney on February 23-26.

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