Fourteen Finalists to Face Off in Statewide Health Equity Challenge, Vie for Chance to Win $40K in Funding

Fourteen Florida organizations dedicated to improving health equity will face off in the GuideWell Reshaping Health Access Challenge virtual state finals on Wed., Oct. 28 for an opportunity to win a grand prize of $40,000 in funding to further their efforts to help achieve health access or health literacy in their respective community. The 14 finalists were selected after pitching their solutions to a panel of judges at one of four regional pitch events held virtually in mid-September.

GuideWell issued the statewide challenge to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, innovators and organizations to seek innovative ideas for improving health disparities – an issue that has long existed and that has become more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent civic unrest and racial tension across the country.

“We issued the challenge to accelerate innovative thinking and identify solutions to address health disparities for disadvantaged populations and communities across the state,” said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation. “The work all of these organizations are already doing is impressive. This challenge is an opportunity for us to help one of the finalists quickly scale, while also helping to bridge the gap in health disparities that exist across the state.”

The ideas the finalists will pitch at the state showcase range from high-tech solutions like mobile apps to improve collaboration, telehealth and telemonitoring services, mobile health and dental clinics and health education programs that can be implemented in schools, in rural communities or at home through the use of technology. All the ideas focus on solutions designed to increase access to health and health information to help Floridians achieve better health outcomes.

The 14 finalists were selected from a pool of 62 applicants, all of whom pitched their ideas at one of four regional health equity pitch events throughout the state. The top companies from each region were each awarded $5,000 and an opportunity to compete for the $40,000 state prize to further expand their approach to solving food insecurity.

The 14 finalists include:

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center

Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention

Center for Quality Medication Management at the University of Florida

Epilepsy Florida

Episcopal Children’s Services

Gainesville Fire Rescue

Health Information Project, Inc. (HIP)

I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, Inc.

Preeclampsia Foundation

Starting Right, Now

Student ACES

T. LeRoy Jefferson Medical Society

Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative

Tampa Family Health Centers

The challenge finals, which will be held on Wed., Oct. 28, will kick off a two-day virtual health equity event. The second day, Thurs., Oct. 29, will be a half-day virtual town hall to continue the dialogue and bring together experts and stakeholders from throughout the state and nation to collaborate on how to break down barriers to improve health access and health literacy in Florida. Dr. Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, vice president and chief equity and inclusion officer of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), will serve as the keynote speaker at the town hall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” As a health solutions company committed to helping people and communities achieve better health, GuideWell is dedicated to addressing complex issues, such as health access and health literacy, to make sure every Floridian has equal access and opportunity to reach their full health potential.

About the Author

Ilyssa Drumm

GuideWell Social Media and Media Relations Consultant