Health Equity Challenge. Application deadline: February 14, 2022

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is leading the Health Equity Challenge, in collaboration with The MolinaCares Accord 

​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 new competition from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) conducted in collaboration with MolinaCares will provide that opportunity in 2022 — the Health Equity Challenge.

The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have shone 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 focused has also spurred ideas from those who are closest to the problems.

Beginning on January 13, 2022, UCLA graduate students are invited to propose solutions that community-based organizations (CBOs) can implement. The Health Equity Challenge imagines a better world with improved health for all. Students will be encouraged to turn their ideas into full proposals and, for two winners and their community partners, funded projects.

“We know students can bring new insights and ideas to address some of our most pressing challenges,” said Kathryn Kietzman, PhD, project lead and director of the UCLA CHPR Health Equity Program. “With support from mentors across the university and California public health community, students will fully develop their ideas and have the chance to turn these ideas into action. We’re very excited to get to work with UCLA students in this way and give them a unique opportunity to make an impact on issues they care about.”

“MolinaCares understands from our work across California, and across the country, that health disparities are widespread and require ongoing resources and solutions to resolve. We are excited to partner with UCLA to invest in the public health leaders of tomorrow and spur creative thinking on how to solve persistent issues faced by vulnerable communities across California,” said Abbie Totten, Plan President of Molina Healthcare of California.

The competition will have two rounds. Starting in January 2022, UCLA graduate students are invited to complete a two-page application outlining an intervention that could be executed by a local CBO to address a health inequity in the greater Los Angeles area or other California community in need. 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. Ten students will be selected by an Independent Review Committee to participate in round two.

The 10 students selected for the second round will receive a $2,500 stipend and 10 weeks of mentorship to help identify community partners and develop a full project proposal on their community-based solution to the identified Health Equity Challenge. Projects must be feasible and have measurable outcomes to improve an identified community health issue.

Two final proposals will be selected by the Independent Review Committee and two associated CBOs will receive funding of up to $50,000 for implementation. The winning students will receive an additional $2,500 stipend to continue documenting the impact of the project’s implementation.

UCLA CHPR and MolinaCares will also host a Health Equity Challenge Information Session on Thursday, January 27, 2022, from noon to 1 p.m. PT on Zoom, where UCLA graduate students will have the opportunity to get additional details about the program and ask questions.

Key Dates

January 13, 2022: Applications open.

February 14, 2022: Applications due by 5 p.m. PT.

March 8, 2022: Ten (10) UCLA graduate students will be selected to receive a $2,500 stipend and a mentor.

March 28–June 10, 2022: Students will work with their mentors to develop their full project proposal.

Late June 2022: Two (2) winners will be announced at an awards ceremony. Each student will receive an additional $2,500 stipend and $50,000 to their community organization to implement their proposal.

Visit the Health Equity Challenge website.


About the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research:
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. UCLA CHPR improves the public’s health through high quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that informs effective policymaking. UCLA CHPR is the home of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and is part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. For more information, visit

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.

About Molina Healthcare of California:

Molina Healthcare of California has been providing government-funded care for over 40 years. The Company serves members through Medi-Cal, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid (Duals) and Covered California (Marketplace). Molina’s service areas include Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Orange County, and Imperial counties. Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, served approximately 4.8 million members as of September 30, 2021. For more information about Molina Healthcare of California, visit

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