The Health Equity Innovation Challenge presents an Opportunity for Chicago Entrepreneurs

The Health Equity Innovation Challenge invites Chicago-based entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups, and community-based organizations to submit ideas that improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities that have long plagued the city. The overall goal is to accelerate innovative solutions to close the racial mortality gap.

The Challenge is a part of Johnson and Johnson’s “Our Race to Health Equity” initiative that recognizes racial and social injustice as a public health threat and aspires to eliminate health inequities for people of color. The Challenge aims to support potential innovative solutions beginning in six cities where Black and Hispanic communities experience significant health inequities: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and Philadelphia.

While health inequities are not new to Chicago, the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted this need for solutions to address the racial mortality gap. While governmental programs have attempted to address some of these needs, some believe that a more local approach is needed to create solutions that communities of color need to address these health disparities. Helene Gayle, MD, President and CEO of Chicago Community Trust, and one of the judges for the Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Innovation Challenge states, “The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color has highlighted the importance of addressing health inequities. Solutions that are tailored to local needs and context are critical for sustainable change.”

In order to create space for innovations created for the community, by the community, submissions on behalf of academic institutions, large corporations, and national organizations are ineligible. Each innovator’s application will be evaluated based on the ability to focus on health inequities experienced by Black and Hispanic people, the potential health impact solution would serve the defined metro area with the potential to expand, and the feasibility and practicality of the proposed solution. Applicants will also be evaluated on their implementation plan and timeline, risks and challenges, as well as team quality and capabilities. The maximum initial funding request for applicants is $75,000. The application deadline is November 12, 2021.

More information on this Challenge can be found at:

Interested Innovators may apply at:


Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website,


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