Three Central Florida Organizations Receive Seed Money to Address Health Disparities, Earn Opportunity to Win More Funding

GuideWell today selected three Central Florida organizations to receive seed money to implement their innovative ideas to address barriers to health access and health literacy. The Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention, the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center and the Center for Quality Medication Management at the University of Florida were selected from a group of 10 regional innovators across Central Florida to receive $5,000 in funding. In addition, they will advance to GuideWell’s Reshaping Health Access challenge finals where they’ll have the opportunity to compete for a $40,000 state grand prize. Funds will be used to address health and racial inequities that exist in their respective local communities.

The three innovative ideas from Central Florida organizations advancing to the finals include:

Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention (Orlando) – People living with chronic diseases face a higher risk of depression and are more likely to have challenges with medical management. However, research shows those with chronic conditions who receive mental health care services may see improved health outcomes and a decrease in medical utilization. The Mind, Body and Soul program provides case management, referrals, education and access to mental health counseling to empower participants to self-manage their care.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center (Altamonte Springs) – African Americans are 50% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than anyone else due to disparities in health access and health literacy. Controlling Our Risk Everyday or C.O.R.E. is an Alzheimer's disease prevention program designed to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The program provides participants with culturally-relevant education and training to help them make lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Center for Quality Medication Management at the University of Florida (Orlando) – Medication literacy is the degree to which people can understand information about their medications so they can take them safely. With a staff of student pharmacists, technicians, and pharmacists, the Center for Quality Medication Management (CQM) at the University of Florida has created a tele-pharmacy program to help patients with everything from enrolling in services to medication adherence to comprehensive medication reviews and assistance with transitions in care. The program is designed to improve medication literacy by assigning racial and social concordance between providers and patients through a telemedicine platform.

“We want to applaud all of the applicants for their passion and commitment to developing innovative strategies that address barriers to improving health access and literacy, critical public health issues that have long existed in communities throughout Florida,” said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation. “This challenge is designed to foster innovation and collaboration while providing resources to bridge the gap in health inequities that exist within our state.”

While health care inequities in underserved populations have existed for many year, COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the correlation between socioeconomic conditions of a community and the health of people living there.

In June, GuideWell issued the statewide challenge to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, innovators and organizations to accelerate innovative thinking and build greater health equity in Florida communities.

Aside from Thursday’s event in Central Florida, three other regional virtual pitch events are taking place throughout the state. The three finalists from each region will be invited to present their approaches and compete for the grand prize of $40,000 at the Reshaping Health Access challenge statewide showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Like the regional pitch competitions, this year’s statewide event will also be held virtually. All 12 statewide finalists will also receive a unique opportunity to attend the GuideWell Reshaping Health Access virtual town hall event on Thursday, Oct. 29, an invitation-only, collaborative gathering, bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the state and nation to focus on improving health access and literacy in Florida communities.

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Ilyssa Drumm

GuideWell Social Media and Media Relations Consultant