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Mayor Bowser Launches QuickFire Challenge Aimed at Addressing Health Disparities in Washington, DC

Thursday, May 6, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), working with the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership (WDCEP) and in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, are launching a health equity challenge that is focused on addressing chronic health care challenges in Washington, DC. Through the Washington, DC Health Innovation QuickFire Challenge, innovators from around the world are invited to submit potential science and technology solutions aimed towards addressing racial and socioeconomic disparities that impact health outcomes in communities of color. Submissions must include innovations that transform patient outcomes in maternal mortality, cardiovascular diseases and systemic autoimmunity, or kidney diseases.

“We have known, even before the pandemic laid these inequities bare, that there is urgent work to do to ensure more equitable health outcomes in our community,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We are proud to have partners like Johnson & Johnson Innovation in our work to build health care systems that meet the needs of all residents, attack health disparities, and make us more resilient for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Through an existing grant, WDCEP will award up to four innovators a total of $250,000, with grant increments starting at $50,000. Awardees will also receive an invitation to reside at JLABS @ Washington, DC, a 32,000-square-foot incubator located at the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in NW DC, on a portion of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center Campus.

“Health innovation is critical to building a more equitable Washington, DC,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “This QuickFire Challenge will help develop solutions to inequalities in health care and I am excited to see the innovative developments that come out of this.”

Awardees will also receive access to mentorship, resources, and programming. With Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS strategically located in Washington, DC, resident companies will benefit from this innovative ecosystem, which includes Children’s National Research Institute and Virginia Tech, with close proximity to federal research institutions and agencies, university and academic research centers, and a robust biohealth community.

With the goal to catalyze promising science within the Washington, DC ecosystem, awardees will be evaluated by an expert panel of reviewers and judges based on their ability to address these scientific gaps. Selection criteria includes the uniqueness of the idea, potential impact on human health, the feasibility of the idea, thoroughness of approach, and identification of key resources and a plan to further the idea.

The QuickFire Challenges are managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, with the goal to address today’s greatest health care challenges. Applications are now open. The deadline to apply for the Washington DC Health Innovation QuickFire Challenge is June 11, 2021. Find more information and apply here.