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The Aetna Foundation’s Healthier World Innovation Challenge

by Pamela McMillan

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of This blog post is sponsored by the Aetna Foundation for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

When necessary, a healthcare fraud attorney helps protect your rights you when you really need it, but unfortunately it’s always after the fact. However, the Aetna Foundation is an organization that works to ensure that your rights are protected and they are dedicated to community support, the prevention of disease, revitalizing neighborhoods, supporting the arts, and helping those in need. Founded in 1972, the Aetna Foundation has contributed more than $445 million in grants and sponsorships.

“Today, as we work to improve the health status and quality of care of the individual and community, we focus our efforts on opportunities that lead to meaningful improvements in health and the health care system.” The Aetna Foundation websiteAetna_foundation_healthier_world_innovation_challenge_infographic_final

A Step Towards A Brighter Future

The Aetna Foundation’s new campaign is called the Healthier World Innovation Challenge and is offering up to $4.5 million in grants. These grants are aimed to help organizations improve chronic health outcomes in under served communities using today’s technology. By using the digital health technology available today, the Aetna Foundation is hoping to empower change and improve health at the community level. Up to six organizations will be able to receive up to $750,000 each over three consecutive years and will have the full support of the Aetna Foundation and partner organizations.

“The Healthier World Innovation Challenge will create solutions that will empower members of underserved populations to take control of their health with real-world solutions that fit into their everyday lives through technology they are already using.” – The Aetna Foundation website

This initiative is especially important because it will be focusing on reducing chronic diseases in these underprivileged communities. According to the CDC, heart disease and diabetes are two of the top 10 leading causes of death among African Americans and Hispanics. On top of that, the dependence on mobile technology is rising;

“1 in 3 mobile users have used their mobile device to research health information, and 90% of patients want to self-manage their healthcare by using technology. This includes accessing medical information, refilling prescriptions, and booking appointments online.” – The Pew Research Center

Geek Insider had the unique opportunity to interview Dr. Garth Graham, the president of the Aetna Foundation, one on one in a phone interview about the new campaign.

What do you hope to achieve with the Aetna Foundation’s Healthier World Innovation Challenge?

We want the world to see more ideas from organizations that focus on enabling people from underprivileged communities to lead a healthier lifestyle. We want to give people the ability to bring their concepts to life, to generate thought and conversation, and take action to help the people in those communities. Just by providing the means, we believe we will see a big difference in the understanding and handling of the huge issues that people face daily.

What is the greatest challenge your organization faces when it comes to solving the rising chronic disease rates?

The greatest challenge is really creating that impact in chronic disease prevention. The issue is extremely multi-faceted so dealing with chronic diseases presents many problems that can be difficult. A new system will need to be created that can help enable people from those communities to make healthier decisions about their lives. These underserved communities face two main problems, the need to empower themselves to make healthier choices and finding the proper outlets for these decisions.

How is the world of healthcare going to be affected by new digital health technology?

New digital technology will allow people more control over their own lives. This is especially true with healthcare in regards to mobile technology because smartphones are putting healthcare into the consumer reach.

For those people who live in underprivileged communities, this is especially important. Mobile technology is becoming more and more affordable. This means people can access relevant healthcare information when they need it, whether that’s at home or even in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. Easy access to information helps people make more informed decisions and helps them to take charge of their lives.

How do you feel new technology, like smartphones and tablets, is changing healthcare for the better?

Smartphones and tablets are really opening up the world of healthcare for everyone. Patients are becoming more informed and knowledgeable as they search for information that really fits what they need in an answer. One of the greatest challenges in healthcare is providing the right answers and now patients have greater access to a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. People are able to manage their lives and search for information in real time.

What kind of impact do you hope to achieve with this Healthier World Innovation Challenge initiative?

These grants will help organizations contribute their knowledge, passion, and innovation to these underprivileged communities. The Aetna Foundation is hoping to see a great impact in healthcare that completely transforms the way healthcare functions in those communities. By focusing on these parts of the population, the prevention of chronic diseases, and utilization of new technology; the conversation around healthcare will become more thoughtful about how to take care of all populations evenly.

Interested in Applying?

Learn more about the Healthier World Innovation Challenge here

To join the Healthier World Innovation Challenge, click here

If your organization is non-profit with a 501(c)(3) status or is a state or local government agency; you can apply. More information can be found here.

  • Deadlines for letters of inquiry are on February 16th, 5p.m. EST
  • Deadline for receipt of Letters of Inquiry March 20, 2015
  • Notification of invitation to submit a full proposal April 27, 2015, 5 p.m. EST
  • Deadline for receipt of full proposals May 25, 2015
  • Notification of awards June 22, 2015 – Grants begin

Deadlines for letters of inquiry are on February 16th, 5p.m. EST.

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