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Global Wellness Summit Names Winner of Shark Tank of Wellness Student Competition–All Finalists Present Technology Solutions

Florida State University’s Jarrod Luca takes top honors for new virtual reality therapy to treat PTSD and anxiety.   “Wellness Sharks” from leading companies judged finalists on final day of Summit, attended by a record number of delegates from 40+ countries.

Miami, FL – October 18, 2017 – Following a live competition between three finalists and rapid-fire questions from industry leaders, the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) named Jarrod Luca, a student at Florida State University, winner of the second annual Shark Tank Student Competition. Luca developed EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a new therapy used with a virtual reality headset to treat sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and anxiety disorders.  Finalists shared USD $10,000 in prize money.

The panel of Wellness Sharks, representing companies that sponsored the competition, named Maria Gil, École de Lausanne, Switzerland, first runner-up for developing a pHealth toothbrush, which encourages people to a consume a less acidic diet. The toothbrush measures the pH level from saliva in the mouth and is displayed via an app.

Mikey Ahdoot, University of Southern California, was named second runner-up for his Every Damn Day app, which tracks habits, motivates users and matches them with an accountability partner.

“The Shark Tank of Wellness offers an important look at what lies ahead for the wellness industry,” said GWS Chairman and CEO Susie Ellis. “Interestingly, all finalists presented technology solutions, ranging from a life-changing virtual reality solution to innovative apps. This underscores the important role technology will continue to play in delivering health and wellness to a global community.”

This year the GWS received 60 entries from 26 countries. The three finalists were selected to compete on the final day of the Summit and were judged on a range of award criteria:  project innovation, visual appeal and design, relevance to wellness, business viability, and quality of the project presentation.

During the competition, each finalist presented a short video illustrating his or her project and had one minute to address the judges, who then questioned each student for nine minutes. The finalists’ professors accompanied their students to the Summit: Jarrod Luca–Wendy Plant, Florida State University; Maria Gil–Demian Hodari, École Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland; and Mikey Ahdoot–Paul Orlando, University of Southern California.

The winners were announced later that afternoon at the awards ceremony.

The Shark Tank of Wellness is a unique global challenge giving university students the opportunity to submit innovative, impactful ideas for the wellness industry, which includes architecture/design, beauty, education, fitness, hospitality, investment, medicine, nutrition, real estate, spa, technology, travel, tourism, and more.

The top three finalists were flown, along with their professors, to the 11th Annual Global Wellness Summit, which took place earlier this month at The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL, where they presented their business ideas to judges and delegates.

Award Sponsors and Wellness Sharks

William Arango, Senior Director of Operations, Ritz Carlton for ESPA International
Andrew Gibson, Global Vice President, Well-Being, Luxury Brands, Fairmont Hotels
Jane Iredale, President & CEO, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, U.S.
Sheila McCann, General Manager, Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Thailand
Jacqueline Piotaz, Founder & Developer, Jacqueline Piotatz Cosmetics, Switzerland
Frank Pitsikalis, Founder & CEO, ResortSuite, Canada
Michael Pugliese, Owner & CEO, Circadia by Dr. Pugliese, U.S.

About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $3.74 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, the Summit attracts delegates from all over the world. Summits have taken place in the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico City, and Austria. The 2018 Summit will be held at Technogym Village, Cesena, Italy from Oct. 6-8, 2018.