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      Health Equity Innovation Challenge

      Racial and social injustices and inequities have long plagued society and the health of communities of color across the United States.

      In 2021, Johnson & Johnson created the Health Equity Innovation Challenge as a part of the company’s commitment to help eradicate the public health threats of racial and social injustices by eliminating health inequities for people of color. The Challenge aims to support innovative solutions developed by local entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovators, and community-based organizations that have the potential to advance health equity.

      Submit an idea

      Applications for the Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Innovation Challenge will be open on October 2, 2023 and close on November 6, 2023.

      Resources and support

      Our 14 inaugural Awardees possess lived experience and a deep understanding of the communities they serve and were selected from a pool of more than 180 applicants based on their work generating solutions to help close racial health gaps in their communities.


      A community-based approach to advancing health equity requires investing in the people and organizations that are already working to develop solutions to address the unique needs of their communities. This year, we’re bringing the Challenge to five cities where communities of color face significant health inequities: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia. Johnson & Johnson will award up to $75,000 of seed funding to selected applicants. Resources and support also include:

      • Mentorship1 from leaders across Johnson & Johnson as well as from external experts
      • Visibility through coordinated communications
      • Access to Johnson & Johnson Innovation2 – JLABS ecosystem, which provides leading healthcare start-ups with access to educational programming and networking, resources, amplification opportunities, and the chance to connect with therapeutic area experts and investors


      The opportunities for change, founded in innovation, are boundless. Our goal is to invest in transformative solutions – one idea, and one community, at a time.

      Application process and selection criteria

      An external group of public health and health equity experts will review submissions with the aim of ensuring a relevant, localized, and independent assessment in each of the five Challenge cities. Each application will be evaluated based on the ability to meet the following criteria:

      Focus on health inequities experienced by people of color (see more on Focus Areas)
      • Ability to demonstrate need and measurably impact health within one of the defined metro areas
      • Potential to expand
      • Feasibility and practicality of the solution
      • Implementation plan and timeline
      • Current success metrics
      • Team quality and capabilities
      • Initial funding request does not exceed $75,000

      Applications will open on October 2, 2023.

      Meet the 2021 Awardees

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      Focus areas

      The goal is to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities by promoting health equity, specifically through locally generated3 ideas to identify solutions that:
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      Prevent and treat illnesses that disproportionately affect communities of color

      Such as advancing innovative solutions aimed at preventing or addressing health conditions through new screening and diagnostic technology platforms
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      Enhance equitable access to healthcare

      Such as technology solutions that help advance health equity and care for diverse individuals
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      Stimulate diversity in science

      Such as solutions that encourage more young people of color to pursue careers in STEM and solutions that expand the diversity of the local clinical research workforce
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      Advocate for more trusted community-based healthcare

      Such as promoting culturally-competent care or addressing bias in clinical care
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      Promote health equity through community engagement and education

      Such as connecting with community members on how to gain access to healthcare resources and solutions like preventative care

      Areas of geographic focus

      The 2023 Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Innovation Challenge focuses on dismantling health inequities within Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.


      Through the Challenge, Johnson & Johnson aims to highlight how socioeconomic gaps drive the greatest need for healthcare education, access, and care. The Challenge is an opportunity to elevate solutions with the potential to significantly impact cities with the greatest gaps and expand into other communities across the country.
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      1 Mentorship, including subject-matter assistance, may be provided if requested, and if such assistance does not present any legal or compliance issues for the Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Innovation Challenge. Any mentorship will be non-binding on the Award recipient and will in no way be construed as directing the use of Award Funds by the Award recipient.
      2 As appropriate by expertise and/or regulatory considerations.
      3 Submitters should be located within defined greater metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.

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