different hands holding a lightbulb with 50k prize advertising health equity challenge
Are you a UCLA graduate student with an original idea for improving health equity? Do you want to help a community organization win $50,000 to make your project come to life?

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) is proud to present the third annual Health Equity Challenge, a chance for students to turn their ideas into action and develop innovative solutions that a community-based organization can implement. Last year, the Health Equity Challenge was supported by MolinaCares and the California Health Care Foundation.

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 innovative intervention that could be implemented by a local community-based organization.

Proposals can include direct interventions, program development, policy changes, or other innovative ideas. Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply, including: public health, policy, education, law, urban planning, psychology, medicine, sciences, business, and more.

Applications are due by Monday, November 6, 2023.

“If you are a UCLA graduate student who wants to create change in your community, the UCLA Health Equity Challenge is the perfect opportunity for you,” said Kathryn Kietzman, PhD, director of CHPR’s Health Equity Program. “Whether you’re a student in tech who wants to create an app to help undocumented Californians navigate the benefits process, an urban planning student looking to use your skills to revitalize a park in an at-risk community, or someone who wants to help create a peer support program for LGBTQ+ youth, we are looking for students who are passionate, creative, and ready to help solve some of our most challenging problems.”

Up to 15 students will be named finalists and will participate in the full competition. Each student will receive a $2,500 stipend and over the course of 12–15 weeks, identify and work with a faculty or community mentor, participate in trainings, write a blog, select a community organization that can implement the project, create a poster, and develop a full project proposal.

Projects must be feasible, innovative, and have measurable outcomes to assess desired improvements in the identified community health issue.

An Independent Review Committee will evaluate the proposals and select four student projects for funding. The students will be awarded an additional $2,500 stipend and their community partners will be awarded up to $50,000 each to implement the project.

An awards ceremony will be held in early June 2024.

Last year’s winning projects included: trauma-informed yoga services, mental health services, and educational workshops to promote healing and wellness for South Asian survivors of interpersonal violence; an extreme heat preparedness and response training for caregivers; a community health worker training program to address climate-related health risks among American Indian and Alaska Native communities; and a mobile health screening protocol for vision-threatening conditions and eye safety training for jornaleros (day laborers) who often encounter hazardous working conditions.

Key Dates

  • October 11, 2023: Applications open.

  • October 23, 2023: Information Session webinar, noon to 1 p.m. PT.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Early June 2023: 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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