UCLA Health is now accepting applications for a new cohort of innovators to be part of its TechQuity Accelerator. Launched in 2022 to address COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on under-resourced and vulnerable communities, TechQuity supports early-stage startups in improving health equity among underserved and vulnerable populations.
“Following last year’s highly successful inaugural program, we are excited to launch a second cohort to support mission-driven founders developing inclusive technologies and platforms to boost health equity within diverse populations,” said Jennifer McCaney, executive director of UCLA Biodesign and associate director of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
“Traditionally, early-stage companies can face steep challenges in developing a value proposition that is attractive to investors. TechQuity’s mission is driven by returns on impact for those communities in the greatest need. Stakeholders from organizations across Los Angeles County have a voice in TechQuity’s guiding principles, from thematic tracks, mentorship and pilot studies.
UCLA Health operates the TechQuity Accelerator in partnership with UCLA Biodesign, BioscienceLA and ScaleHealth with a laser focus on supporting teams that feature innovative concepts and a mission to improve long-term community health resilience. The three-month program provides selected startups with personalized mentorship, co-working space, clinical expertise and product-development support, culminating in a final pitch showcase with UCLA Health leaders and community stakeholders.
Selected companies are paired with student interns subsidized by BioscienceLA through its BioFutures Internship Program. This collaboration also represents a shared commitment with UCLA Health and UCLA Biodesign to build a diverse life science and health technology workforce by providing career-building opportunities for people from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
“Technology is a prominent social driver of health that has the potential to advance health justice. To achieve this goal, technologies must be inclusively designed and center the voice and needs of their end-users. The TechQuity Accelerator specifically trains its startups to incorporate principles of inclusive excellence and justice into each phase of their technology architecture and business model,” said Dr. Medell Briggs-Malonson, chief of health equity, diversity and inclusion and associate professor of emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
For 2023, TechQuity has identified three thematic areas for founders addressing any of the following barriers to more equitable health outcomes:
Healthcare Access – The pandemic strained an existing health system fraught with challenges for people with cultural, geographic or financial limitations to access care and services. Prospective applicants may have innovations in these areas:
- Providing telemedicine through accessible channels
- Developing wearables and remote monitoring devices
- Delivering direct-to-consumer healthcare services, including pharmacy
- Offering medical translation and transcription
- Providing gender-affirming care
Environmental Justice – Traditionally, underserved communities are mostly likely to suffer the health, financial and political consequences caused by global climate change and environmental hazards. Prospective applicants might have solutions for:
- Removing, reducing or preventing pollution in vulnerable communities
- Addressing food insecurity and increasing access to healthy food options
- Leveraging community leaders to ensure equitable environmental and land-use decisions
- Facilitating safe housing and recreational facilities
- Expanding social service programs
Mental Health and Youth Wellbeing – Limited resources are available for low-income residents and adolescent patients to ensure their long-term care and access to primary and behavioral healthcare. Potential areas of focus include:
- Identifying and connecting patients to mental health resources, experts and/or treatment centers through digital platforms Collaborating with schools and other youth organizations to improve pediatric healthcare delivery
Broadening access to treatments and developing devices for patients with substance abuse disorders
- Promoting self-care through mobile or other applications
TechQuity welcomes applications from early-stage startups across our region’s robust tech ecosystem and from companies seeking to establish a regional presence in Southern California. For more information or to apply, visit the UCLA Health TechQuity Accelerator website
# # #
UCLA Health is consistently ranked among the nation’s top health systems by U.S. News & World Report and is an emerging leader in innovative, equity-focused healthcare delivery.
UCLA Biodesign strives to train the next generation of healthcare leaders by pioneering innovation and uniting stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem.
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 LA County and is backed by numerous companies, hospitals and organizations.
ScaleHealth is a health innovation marketplace that leverages a data-driven technology platform to connect innovative healthcare startups all around the world with leading health organizations all with the goal of ensuring that everyone has access to the healthcare resources that they need and deserve.