June 24, 2024

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The Healthcare Education, Research and Innovation Foundation and MATTER Launch Innovation Challenge to Advance Health Equity Solutions

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Chicago, IL, May 03, 2024 –(PR.com)– The Healthcare Education, Research and Innovation Foundation and MATTER launch innovation challenge to advance health equity solutions developed by college students and early career professionals.

Up to five finalists will be selected to participate in eight-week accelerator with the chance to win up to $10K

The Healthcare Education, Research and Innovation Foundation (HERIF), dedicated to advancing person-centered care, and MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, today launched the Future Health Tech Leaders Innovation Challenge to source solutions developed by underrepresented undergraduate students, graduate students and early career professionals to improve healthcare and health inequities. Up to five finalists from the candidate pool will be selected and one winning solution will receive a $10,000 cash award.

Healthcare remains one of the fastest-growing sectors, attracting college students and young professionals to pursue careers across the industry. Recent data spanning 2020-2021 shows health professions and related programs ranked among the top degrees conferred across postsecondary institutions in the United States.1 Despite this growth, a 2022 study conducted by McKinsey & Company found Black and Latino founders secured only 2.5 percent of US venture capital (VC) funding, while women-founded teams received just 1.9 percent. These underrepresented founders often create companies that outperform their counterparts and effectively address underserved, marginalized markets.2 As burgeoning professionals embrace this trajectory, empowering the next generation of underrepresented health tech innovators is vital to addressing health disparities and closing gaps in health outcomes.

“Partnering with MATTER on this innovation challenge for students and young professionals serves as a crucial step toward closing the opportunity gap in the health innovation space while also addressing the inequities of our healthcare system,” said Dan Roman, Chief Operating & Financial Officer of HERIF. “We look forward to seeing the solutions that healthcare’s young innovators are developing.”

Applications for the eight-week accelerator are now open. Up to five finalists will be chosen to participate and will benefit from expert mentorship and exclusive resources to enhance their value propositions and refine their pitches. The program will culminate with a final showcase in September 2024.

“Founders of color and female founders face unique challenges when building their businesses, many of which are focused on underserved populations,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “The Future Health Tech Leaders Innovation Challenge supports them on their journeys to build businesses that will improve health and healthcare, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with HERIF on this effort.”

For more information and to apply, please visit the challenge page.


“NCES Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports),” National Center for Education Statistics, 2023.

“Underrepresented startup founders: The untapped opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, 2023.

About Healthcare Education, Research and Innovation Foundation (HERIF) The Healthcare Education, Research, and Innovation Foundation develops and supports high-impact programs that seek to transform person-centered care for individuals, families, and communities. We provide resources, support, and partnerships that enable healthcare and social professionals to enhance their skills, knowledge, and expertise while fostering innovation and research that drives discoveries and improves health outcomes.

At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 1,000 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.


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