UCLA Health seeks applicants for TechQuity – a health equity-focused innovation accelerator

Techquity collage
Credit: iStock/Adobe Stock

UCLA Health, in partnership with BioscienceLA and UCLA Biodesign, has launched a new accelerator at the intersection of health equity and technology. Aimed at supporting long-term community health resilience and improvements in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCLA Health TechQuity Accelerator seeks to bridge clinical excellence and innovation for diverse patient populations.

TechQuity invites mission-driven, early-stage startups to apply to its first cohort, which launches on May 1, 2022. The four-month program will provide founders with personalized mentorship, access to clinical expertise, and product development support. The program will culminate in a final pitch showcase featuring UCLA Health leaders and community stakeholders. TechQuity draws on the regional connectivity of the burgeoning Los Angeles tech ecosystem, leveraging the region’s diverse talents, assets and infrastructure.

“Through technology-driven innovation, we’re targeting four thematic areas – prevention, diagnosis, treatment and community impact – and although this effort began in response to COVID-19’s impact on under-resourced communities, we’re building it to be sustainable, to provide better health security beyond the pandemic,” said Jennifer McCaney, executive director of UCLA Biodesign and assistant director of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

“The UCLA Health TechQuity Accelerator will support our communities by improving the quality of health care, expanding access to care and creating new tech-driven career opportunities today and in the future,” said Johnese Spisso, RN, MPA, president of UCLA Health, CEO of UCLA Hospital System, and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences. “These benefits are the result of Jennifer’s vision and leadership, the expertise and experience of her UCLA Biodesign team, and the commitment of numerous business and industry partners throughout the Los Angeles region.”

TechQuity works across the four themes with an emphasis on inclusive technology that will accelerate health equity within diverse populations:

  • Prevention. Digital tools or devices that reduce risk through education, monitoring, automation or vaccination. 
  • Diagnosis. Diagnostic devices or accessories that focus on rapid, accessible and scalable testing.
  • Treatment. Devices and therapies that manage or relieve acute and long-term effects of COVID-19.
  • Community impact. Digital platforms or tech-enabled services that increase health care access for vulnerable populations. 

Dr. Medell Briggs-Malonson, chief of health equity, diversity and inclusion for the UCLA Hospital & Clinic System and a specialist in emergency medicine, said the accelerator aims to rapidly address the economic, health, and safety risks intensified and highlighted by the pandemic.

“In addition to meeting health needs in communities most heavily impacted by COVID-19, we’re striving to support a more diverse life science workforce by expanding career-building opportunities for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds,” Briggs-Malonson said. “Our partnership with BioscienceLA represents a strong community commitment to these efforts.” 

BioscienceLA is a major catalyst for innovation in the life sciences and health in the greater Los Angeles region. The independent not-for-profit organization was seeded by L.A. County and is backed by numerous companies, hospitals and organizations. Its mission is to ensure that Los Angeles has a collaborative, well-coalesced ecosystem and to advance the region’s capacity and pace of innovation by harmonizing the efforts of all stakeholders.

UCLA Health is an emerging leader in innovative equity-focused health care delivery. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLA Health’s infectious disease experts and clinical professionals, uniquely positioned to support the fight against the disease, have taken a leading role with federal, state and local public health and government officials.

As the No. 1 hospital in California and No. 3 nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, UCLA Health again earned a spot on the national honor roll, which names the 20 hospitals providing the highest-quality care across a wide range of procedures and conditions.

TechQuity is accepting applications on a rolling basis from pre-seed and seed-stage companies through March 31.  More information can be found at https://bit.ly/3oT95gt.