The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, MolinaCares, and California Health Care Foundation present the

Health Equity Challenge

Imagine a better world with improved health for all. Now let’s create it.

What is the Health Equity Challenge?

An opportunity to create change in our community by developing solutions to California’s most pressing health equity concerns.

Many students are imagining a future where they can change the world, often starting with their local community. For those with a vision of improving health equity, a competition from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), MolinaCares, and California Health Care Foundation, provides that opportunity — the Health Equity Challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to shine a light on significant inequities in many aspects of health: insurance coverage and affordability, social determinants of health, and structural barriers to high-quality care. With the signs of inequity more obvious than ever, the increased focus has also spurred ideas from those who are closest to the problems.

Each year, UCLA graduate students are invited to turn their ideas into action and develop innovative community-based solutions to improve health equity in California.

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illustration of various people wearing masks

Eligibility and Awards

UCLA graduate students are invited to submit a two-page application that identifies a current health equity issue in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, or Riverside counties, and a short description of an intervention that could be executed by a local community-based organization to address it. Proposals can span direct interventions, program development, policy changes, or other innovative ideas. Concept proposals are welcome from many disciplines that intersect with health, including policy, education, law, urban planning, and others.

Up to 15 applications will be selected for the full competition, in which each student will be awarded a $2,500 stipend and 15 weeks of mentorship to develop a full project proposal that a community organization can implement. An independent review committee will review the proposals and up to four students will be awarded an additional $2,500 stipend and the community organization will receive up to $50,000 to implement the project.

Key Dates

  • October 11, 2023: Applications open.

  • November 6, 2023: Applications due.

  • Mid-December 2023: Up to 15 UCLA graduate students will be selected to participate in the program and receive a $2,500 stipend.

  • January 2024–April 2024: Students will work with their mentors to develop their full project proposal. Students will participate in health policy and program development training and create blog posts.
  • April 26, 2024: Final proposals due.

  • May 30, 2024: Four (4) winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and their community organization will receive up to $50,000 to implement the project. The students will receive an additional $2,500 stipend.

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Resources and Links

About the Challenge

Learn more about the Health Equity Challenge.


Applications are November 6, 2023. Apply today!

Events and Videos

Check out our past information sessions to learn more about the Health Equity Challenge.


Student finalists share their personal stories and experiences with the Health Equity Challenge.

Meet the 2024 Health Equity Challenge Finalists and Winners

Learn more about previous Health Equity Challenge finalists and winners.


Have questions about the Health Equity Challenge? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Meet the Team

Meet the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research team.

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About the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. The Center is home to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation’s largest state health survey.

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About The MolinaCares Accord

Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that improve health, life, and living in local communities.

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About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo.