Johnson & Johnson is looking to tackle a myriad of issues under the umbrella of health inequities for people of color in a new program called the Health Equity Innovation Challenge.
The corporation announced the challenge last week, saying that investing in community-based solutions will be an essential component to closing the racial health and mortality gap. J&J recently announced it would be spending $100 million over the next five years to promote health equity solutions, and this challenge is among the programs to fund local solutions in a handful of the hardest-hit U.S. communities.
The company is seeking “innovative solutions” from entrepreneurs, innovators and local community-based orgs that are addressing health issues in Black and Latinx communities, specifically. It’s calling for folks in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York City to apply.
J&J has $600,000 to award to selected applicants. It will also be offering mentorship opportunities from public health experts and access to its JLABS ecosystem, which its head called “the no-strings-attached, no-equity-taking innovation incubator of Johnson & Johnson” in 2018 when JPOD opened up in the Pennovation Center.
Proposals should be aiming to do a few things:
- Prevent and treat illnesses that disproportionally affect Black and Latinx communities
- Enhance equitable access to healthcare
- Stimulate diversity in STEM
- Advocate for a more trusted community-based healthcare
Applicants will be assessed on the feasibility and practicality of their solution, timeline, risks, challenges and team capabilities. Their initial funding request should not exceed $75,000 and academic institutions, large corporations and national orgs are not eligible for this challenge. Seven judges from around the country will be weighing in on the applications, including Philly’s own Kiera Smalls.
? I’m proud to work with @JNJNews on a new program that aims to address health inequities in Philadelphia! We want to hear your ideas to improve health for Black and Hispanic communities ?? Submit ideas here: https://t.co/Sj0dKKPRLh#HealthEquity #JNJPartner
— Kiera Smalls (@KieraSmalls) September 29, 2021
Orgs and individuals have through Friday, Nov. 12, to apply, and a short list of about 50 solutions will make the finals by Dec. 31. Early next year, those awarded grants will begin their work.
“The opportunities for change, founded in innovation, are boundless,” Johnson & Johnson said. “Our goal is to bring transformative potential solutions one idea at a time, to one community at a time.”-30-