RWJF Emergency Response Challenges: The Demos!


RWJF (Both) Challenge Graphic.png

In mid-June, Catalyst launched the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Emergency Response Innovation Challenges. These Challenges, one for the General Public and one for the Health Care System, asked innovators to develop a health technology tool to support the needs of individuals as well as health care systems affected by a large-scale health crisis, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. 

The Challenges saw a record number of applications— nearly 125 applications were submitted to the General Public Challenge and over 130 applications were submitted to the Health Care System Challenge. Over the course of several months and with the help of experts and industry leaders who evaluated the submissions, these applications were narrowed down to five and then again until only three teams per Challenge remained. These teams were:  

Emergency Response for the General Public Finalists:

  • Binformed CovidataBinformed is a clinically-driven comprehensive desktop + mobile infectious disease, epidemic + pandemic management tool targeting suppression and containment of diseases such as COVID-19.
  • CovidSMS CovidSMS is a text message-based platform providing city-specific information and resources to help low-income communities endure COVID-19.
  • Fresh EBT by PropelA technology tool for SNAP families to address food insecurity & economic vulnerability in times of crisis.   

Emergency Response for the Health Care System Finalists:

  • Path CheckPath Check provides privacy first, free, open source solutions for public health to supplement manual contact tracing, visualize hot spots, and interfaces with citizen-facing privacy first apps.
  • QventusQventus is a patient flow automation solution that applies AI / ML and behavioral science to help health systems optimize resources for Covid, create effective capacity, and reduce frontline burnout.
  • Tiatros A mental health and social support platform that combines clinical expertise, peer communities and scalable technology to advance mental wellbeing and to sustain meaningful behavioral change.

These six teams competed in the finals, a virtual pitch event, on November 19th in front of expert judging panels, who evaluated the entries on impact, UX/UI, innovation/creativity, scalability and strength of presentation. (Also re-introduced during this event was Catalyst’s SourceDB, a health tech tracking database – more on that in a separate blog post here!)

In the Health Care System Innovation Challenge, judges awarded first, second, and third place to Qventus, Path Check, and Tiatros, Inc., respectively, with these teams receiving, in order, $25,000, $15,000, and $5,000. However, there was a tie for first in the General Public Innovation Challenge between binformed | covidata and CovidSMS. These two teams split the first and second place prizes and received $17,500 each, and Fresh EBT by Propel in third place received $5,000.

See the demos from all six teams below!

Health Care System:




General Public:

binformed: COVID Data


Fresh EBT

Missed the event? View the full recording below:

We follow up with the winners of the Challenges in a separate blog post here

To learn more about the two Challenges, please visit the Challenge websites, bit.ly/genpublicresponse and bit.ly/healthcareresponse

Elizabeth Brown is a Program Manager at Catalyst @ Health 2.0

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