RWJF and Ashoka Changemakers Announce Global Competition to Find Cutting-Edge Health Care Solutions

Oct 26, 2011, 10:00 ET from Ashoka Changemakers

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 26, 2011  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite their differences, countries throughout the world face a surprisingly similar set of health care challenges, such as fragmented health care ecosystems, high costs, inconsistent quality of care, inefficient systems, barriers to access and capacity needs. To address these challenges and find solutions with the potential to transform health and health care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio is partnering with Ashoka Changemakers to launch the international competition, Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders.

The Innovations for Health competition will award prizes of $10,000 for three solutions that effectively drive improvements in health and health care, and have the potential to be applied in other countries that are experiencing similar health care challenges.

"Communities everywhere are facing similar barriers to keeping people healthy and providing them high quality care when they are sick," said Brian Quinn, team director of the Pioneer portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Fortunately, game-changing solutions are emerging around the globe, and it's time to learn from one another by supporting innovators who use unconventional thinking to explore new ideas."

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the United States' largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving health and health care. The Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio looks beyond conventional thinking to explore solutions at the cutting edge of health and healthcare. By partnering with Ashoka Changemakers to host the Innovations for Health competition, the Pioneer Portfolio will spotlight effective health care models emerging around the world.

"Changemaking innovators everywhere are finding that the right partnerships increase their ability to exchange information and accelerate innovations," said Diana Wells, President of Ashoka. "Through the online platform, the Innovations for Health competition will surface fresh approaches to pressing health care challenges and catalyze mutual learning and collaboration to speed up our collective impact."

The aim of the competition is to identify health care innovations that have the potential to be adapted and applied in different countries experiencing similar barriers to health. The competition is looking for initiatives that have demonstrated impact and sustainability, such as those that:

  • Deploy the full spectrum of health care workers and providers to improve the capacity, reach, and quality of health care services;
  • Use simple, low-cost interventions to improve medical, preventive, and dental care;
  • Help people find and access the health information, services, and providers they need through new tools and processes;
  • Provide high-quality and personalized care in non-traditional settings; and
  • Find new ways to engage patients in their care, particularly for those with chronic illnesses.

Two entries received by December 12, 2011, will be eligible to win $500 and a private consulting session with industry experts. Being an early entry prize winner does not preclude an entrant from winning the competition, nor does it guarantee finalist status. The competition's final entry deadline is February 13, 2012, and an expert panel of judges will select the three winning entries.

Following the competition, selected entries may be invited to submit proposals to RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio for future funding consideration. Participants can submit competition entries through, where they can also discuss and share ideas about new approaches to solving problems within the health care field. Competition guidelines and criteria are also available online.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its Pioneer Portfolio

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing the United States. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. Projects in the Pioneer Portfolio are future-oriented and look beyond conventional thinking to explore solutions at the cutting edge of health and healthcare. For more information, visit

About Ashoka Changemakers

Ashoka Changemakers® is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, is one of the world's most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world's most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three-decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker.

Victoria Emanuelli
Community Manager
Ashoka's Changemakers
Tel: +54-11-43220567

SOURCE Ashoka Changemakers