GuideWell Launches $100K Challenge to Address Health and Racial Inequities

GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell), the parent to a family of forward-thinking companies focused on transforming health care, is launching Reshaping Health Access, a statewide challenge to identify solutions focused on addressing health access and literacy to underserved populations in Florida.

Both the COVID-19 health pandemic and the recent focus on racial injustice are critical public health issues that are shining a spotlight on the need to address health disparities. Reshaping Health Access will serve as one of several efforts GuideWell is taking to help our communities strive to achieve new levels of equality.

“Helping people achieve optimal health cannot be done without addressing racial and health disparities. The lack of access to health care, healthy foods, and health literacy directly impacts longevity rates, severity of diseases and ease of access to treatment, especially in the most vulnerable communities throughout the state,” said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation. “We’re issuing this challenge to help ensure every Floridan that is experiencing health care disparities has access to affordable, quality health care.”

The four-month challenge is targeted to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social innovators and grassroot organizations and is focused on sourcing novel approaches that provide accessible, quality, affordable health care and health education to communities and populations experiencing high levels of health inequity in Florida.

The challenge will award a total of $100,000 in prize money to organizations with sustainable, innovative approaches that address two high-priority focus areas that GuideWell believes are critical barriers to achieving health equity.

The Reshaping Health Access Challenge is seeking innovative approaches that address one or both of the following focus areas:

● HEALTH ACCESS: Solutions that increase access to affordable health care services to 1) economically disadvantaged or rural communities or; 2) underserved or at-risk populations (seniors, disabled, veterans, incarcerated populations, etc.).

● HEALTH LITERACY: Solutions that improve opportunities for underserved populations to obtain, read, understand, and use health care information in order to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment.

Applicants will be competitively selected to present in one of four virtual regional pitch events with finalists in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami this fall.

The top three finalists from each region will each receive $5,000 in funding and will be invited to the statewide Reshaping Health Access challenge showcase on Oct. 28 at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City for a chance to win a $40,000 grand prize.

The statewide challenge showcase will kick off GuideWell’s Reshaping Health Access well-being forum, an invitation-only, collaborative event being held on Oct. 29. This forum will bring together a national audience of thought leaders, experts and stakeholders to focus on building high-impact opportunities for creating equal health access and education in Florida.

The challenge coincides with the launch of the company’s Equity Alliance, an initiative focused on addressing systemic racism and resulting health disparities for Black Americans.

The Equity Alliance is being led by a task force of internal stakeholders and outside advisors and works in conjunction with ASPIRE, the company’s Black affinity group, to develop and implement efforts to combat systemic racism and improve health care outcomes in underprivileged communities.

As part of GuideWell’s long-term commitment to tackling systematic racism, the company recently announced $25 million in investments over five years to organizations focused on diversity and inclusion and health equity in the communities the organizations serve. The Reshaping Health Access challenge is part of that investment.

Applications for Reshaping Health Access must be submitted by July 24. Additional information on the challenge is available here.

About the Author

Ilyssa Drumm

GuideWell Social Media and Media Relations Consultant