Aetna Foundation, HHS, & NHIT Collaborative Innovating for the Underserved Business Plan Challenge

Submission Deadline

Submissions are Closed


  • Three (3) Finalists $5,000 each
  • First Place $40,000
  • Second Place $15,000
  • Third Place $5,000

Winners will receive national recognition.



Team Members

Ken Marshall, Lisa Luong

Nutrition-related apps and services that help food and beverage businesses understand and meet the needs of individuals and families.


Grupo Parada

Team Members

Ronald Bautista, Marcelo Rodriguez, Carlos Anton, Silvia Echeverria

Provides resources for parents and customized services that help shape family behavior and lifestyle.


Let's Epicure

Team Members

Rachel Wang, Claire Lambrecht, Miwa Takaki, Brandon Plaster, Jamini Sampath

Technology that automatically analyzes online receipts and recommends healthier options to help change eating habits.


Technology and data are crucial components to driving innovation and improvement in services in the healthcare arena. Aetna Foundation, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT Collaborative) are working in partnership to leverage IT innovations to reduce disparities in health among underserved and minority communities.

Aetna Foundation and HHS, in collaboration with NHIT Collaborative and Health 2.0 are committed to making a tangible difference in the health outcomes of underserved communities and are pleased to announce the “Innovating for the Underserved” challenge.

Through this business plan challenge, we seek to identify innovative approaches to increasing health equity and impacting chronic health issues in underserved populations.


This challenge is a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations to compete with their best ideas for products and services that use technology to reduce disparities and address the needs of underserved and minority populations that are hampered by problems that health IT can easily solve such as access to services and information, language barriers and lack of relevant educational programs.

This innovative challenge seeks proposals from both non-profit and for-profit teams or entities for leveraging health and communication information technology and data to address one of three key challenges in underserved or vulnerable populations:

  • Access to Services: In many low-income, minority or underserved communities, it is challenging for individuals and families to locate and utilize available services for their health and well-being. They are often faced with conflicting information about operating hours and eligibility criteria, logistical complexity and potential language or literacy issues. In many cases, community health workers and social workers help fill these gaps. Solutions to these issues can be targeted at either individuals/patients or their service providers.
  • Childhood Obesity: According to the CDC, there are significant racial and age disparities in obesity prevalence among children and adolescents. In 2011-2012, obesity prevalence was higher among Hispanics (22.4%) and non-Hispanic black youth (20.2%) than non-Hispanic white youth (14.1%). The underlying causes of obesity in underserved communities are multi-faceted and complex and may include challenges that can be solved through health IT like access to care, access to fresh fruits and vegetables and education on healthy lifestyles and healthy eating.
  • Connecting Data between Systems: The healthcare industry has invested heavily for years in improving electronic health records. Unfortunately, many behavioral health and other social service providers have either not been included, or made similar investments on their own. Connecting and sharing data is expensive to implement, requires careful navigation of privacy and confidentiality requirements and is occasionally resisted by the providers themselves. Proposals should focus on solving for provider to create connectivity.

Innovating for the Underserved is open to teams from the private and non-profit sectors. The competition is limited to United States citizens and permanent residents. There are no restrictions on the type or number of team members. Proposals may involve pre-existing technology or applications that a team wishes to re-design for underserved communities: however, any such proposal will need to clearly demonstrate how it will engage stakeholders in that re-design process. Proposals that seek simply to rename or rebrand a product without engaging in user-centered design will be unsuccessful.

Teams can be come from already established firms or entities and are not required to be new start-ups.


  • Challenge Launch Date: April 22, 2015
  • Q&A Webinar: June 18, 2015
  • Phase I Submission Deadline: July 22, 2015
  • Phase I Winner Announcement: August 24, 2015
  • Winner Announcement during National Health IT Week: October 6, 2015

Evaluation Criteria

  • Ability of Solution to Solve Target Issue: 10 points
  • Stakeholder Engagement: 40 points
  • Financial Viability: 40 points
  • Potential Model Replication: 10 points

Total = 100 Points

Submission Requirements

Judges will be looking for solutions that:

  1. Demonstrate effective user-centered design thinking
  2. Include a viable financial model
  3. Are structured as a formal business plan (see components below)
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to meaningfully engage stakeholders from underserved and vulnerable communities with the benefits and outcomes of the business

Business plans should include the following components:

  • Executive Summary - 1 page
    • Overview of which issue your proposal will address (access to services, obesity, and/or connecting data between health IT systems) and the solution
    • Summary of financial model and engagement plan
    • Timetable for scaling/expansion
    • Proposed geographic and demographic targets
  • Issue Analysis - 1-2 pages
    • Demonstrate understanding of selected target issue, population and the key stakeholders involved
  • Solution Description - 5-10 pages
    • Description of proposed solution to selected target issue
    • Evidence of why your solution is demand driven by vulnerable communities
  • Financial Model - 5-10 pages
    • Overview of the financial model (including capital required and assumptions underlying the final projections)
    • Projected 2-3 year revenue and expense budget
    • Current funders and commitments
    • Fund development strategy
      • Capital required by type of support
      • Projected funding by sources of support
      • Sources/uses of funds
      • Cost per unit of service (if applicable)
  • Engagement Plan - 2-3 pages
    • Details of target population/customer base
    • Current stakeholders already in support, as well as those who are targeted for future consultation and involvement
    • Demonstrate understanding of user-centered design principles
  • Team Profiles (as addendums only) - 1 page per person
    • Optional – resumes or summaries of team members


Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $427 million in grants and sponsorships. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered four million hours since 2003. For more information, visit

National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, Inc.

The NHIT Collaborative brings together private, public and community partners to bring health IT solutions to underserved communities in an effort to reduce disparities and give every individual the opportunity to attain optimal health. For additional information on the roundtable that developed the challenge, please click here.


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the U.S. government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. Our work reaches Americans in nearly all areas of health and wellness, in rural and urban areas, and across all stages of life.
HHS is responsible for almost a quarter of all federal outlays and administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined.

Terms & Conditions




SPONSOR: The sponsor of this Challenge is Aetna Foundation, 151 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06156 ("Sponsor").
ADMINISTRATOR: The administrator of the Challenge is Health 2.0, LLC, 350 Townsend Street, #403, San Francisco, CA 94107 ("Administrator").

CHALLENGE DESCRIPTION: The Challenge begins on April 22, 2015 and ends at 11:59:PM Eastern Time on July 22, 2015 ("Challenge Period"). Entry into the Challenge does not constitute entry into any other challenge or promotion, including, without limitation, other similar challenges or promotions offered by Sponsor and/or Administrator. By participating in the Challenge, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, Administrator, and/or the individual judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

ELIGIBILITY: The Challenge is open to any individual 18 years old or older as of their time of entry, and any organizational entity (corporation, non-profit, etc.) operating lawfully anywhere in any country or territory, except for Quebec, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and North Korea. Employees of Sponsor, Administrator, each of their affiliates, and/or any other individual or entity associated with the development, judging, or administration of the Challenge as well as members of such persons' immediate families (spouses, children, siblings, parents), and persons living in the same household as such persons, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate in the Challenge.

HOW TO ENTER: To enter go to the website located at (the "Challenge Website"), complete the Official Entry Form, and submit your Submission demonstrating the Submission's capabilities and functionality, and slide presentation describing the submission according to the instructions posted on the Challenge Website. You may enter either alone or as part of a team. Teams must include no less than two (2) people and each team member must be clearly identified on the team's Official Entry Form to be eligible. Each Submission entered into the Challenge must meet the "Submission Requirements" described by the challenge Sponsor (any Submission that, in Sponsor's sole discretion, violates the following criteria will be disqualified). Once a submission is made, a team is prohibited from making any changes or alterations to the product described in its submission until the evaluation of the entries is completed.

Submissions must be received during the Challenge Period to be eligible. Administrator is the official timekeeper for the Challenge. No substitutions of new versions of Submissions will be accepted under any circumstances once the original Submission is submitted for consideration. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the individual or team who actually submitted the entry cannot be resolved to Sponsor's and/or Administrator's satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible. Except as otherwise stated in these Official Rules, personal information collected in connection with the Challenge will be used by Sponsor in accordance with the Sponsor’s privacy policy and by Administrator in accordance with Administrator's privacy policy available on the Website and with any additional consent given by an entrant at the time of entry. All entry information and materials, including any copy of the Submission submitted to Sponsor, become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Proof of submission is not considered proof of delivery to or receipt of such entry. Furthermore, Sponsor and Administrator shall have no liability for any Submission that is lost, intercepted, or not received by Sponsor and/or Administrator. Sponsor and Administrator assume no liability or responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, theft, or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, Submissions.

REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES/INDEMNIFICATION: By participating in the Challenge, each entrant represents, warrants, and covenants as follows: (a) entrant is the sole author, creator, and owner of the Submission; (b) the Submission is not the subject of any actual or threatened litigation or claim; (c) the Submission does not and will not violate or infringe upon the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, publicity rights, or other legal rights of any third party; (d) the Submission does not and will not contain any harmful computer code (sometimes referred to as "malware," "viruses" or "worms"); and (e) the Submission, and entrants use of the Submission, does not and will not violate any applicable laws or regulations, including, without limitation, applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other jurisdictions. If the Submission includes any third party works (such as third party content or open source code), entrant must be able to provide, upon Sponsor and/or Administrator's request, all appropriate licenses and releases for such third party works. In the event entrant cannot provide all required licenses and releases, Sponsor reserves the right, in Sponsor's sole discretion, to disqualify the applicable Submission, or seek to secure the licenses and releases for Sponsor's benefit and allow the applicable Submission to remain in the Challenge. Entrants will indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Sponsor and Administrator from and against all third party claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising from entrant's Submission or any breach or alleged breach of any of the representations, warranties, and covenants of entrant hereunder. Sponsor and/or Administrator reserves the right to disqualify any Submission that Sponsor and/or Administrator, in its sole discretion, deems to violate these Official Rules.

SUBMISSION LICENSE: EACH ENTRANT RETAINS TITLE AND FULL OWNERSHIP IN AND TO THEIR SUBMISSION. ENTRANT EXPRESSLY RESERVES ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS NOT EXPRESSLY GRANTED UNDER THIS AGREEMENT. By participating in the Challenge, each entrant hereby irrevocably grants to Sponsor and Administrator a limited, non-exclusive, royalty free, worldwide, license and right to use the Submission to the extent necessary to administer the Challenge, and to publically perform and publically display the Submission, including, without limitation, for advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge.

PUBLICITY RELEASE: By participating in the Challenge, in addition to any other grants granted herein or which may be granted in any other agreement entered into between Sponsor and/or Administrator, on the one hand, and any entrant in the Challenge, on the other hand, each entrant hereby irrevocably (a) grants to Sponsor and Administrator the right to use such entrant's name, likeness, image, and biographical information in any and all media for any purpose, including, without limitation, advertising and promotional purposes relating to the Challenge and (b) releases Sponsor and Administrator from any liability with respect thereto.

WINNER SELECTION/EVALUATION CRITERIA: A review panel will 5 top winners from all eligible entries based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Potential for Clinical Quality Improvement
  • User Experience – Does the proposal focus on the end-user (provider, administrator and/or patient)?
  • Process Improvement
  • Business Case for Implementation

The evaluation criteria are to be applied in the sole discretion of Sponsor and the individual reviewers. By participating in the Challenge, each entrant into the Challenge acknowledges and agrees that such evaluations may differ from person to person and agrees to be bound by and not challenge the final decisions of Sponsor and the individual reviewers.

NOTICE TO WINNERS: Attempts to notify potential winners will be made using the contact information provided on the winner's Official Entry Form. Sponsor and Administrator are not responsible for e-mail or other communication problems of any kind. If, despite reasonable efforts, a potential winner does not respond within five (5) days of the first notification attempt (or a shorter time as exigencies may require), or if the prize or prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to such potential winner, such potential winner will forfeit his or her prize and an alternate winner may be selected. If any potential prize winner is found to be ineligible, or if he or she has not complied with these Official Rules or declines the applicable prize for any reason prior to award, such potential prize winner will be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected. Sponsor may successively attempt to contact up to two (2) potential prize winners in accordance with such procedure, and if there is still no confirmed prize winner after such attempts have been made, if any, the applicable prize may go unawarded.

ANTICIPATED NUMBER OF ENTRANTS: Many will enter, 3 submissions will be selected as winners. Actual odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor and Administrator cannot accurately predict the number of entrants who will participate in the Challenge.

There will be a tiered award structure:
$75,000 total prize purse divided among three winners.

  • 3 Finalists will receive $5,000 each
  • First Place: $40,000
  • Second Place: $15,000
  • Third Place: $5,000

GENERAL PRIZE CONDITIONS: The potential winner may be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release and (where imposing such condition is legal) a Publicity Release (collectively "Prize Claim Documents). If a winner fails or refuses to sign and return all Prize Claim Documents within five (5) days of Sponsor's and/or Administrator's request (or a shorter time as exigencies may require), the winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected. No more than the advertised number of prizes will be awarded. Prizes will be delivered only to an address in the U.S. No cash alternative or substitution or transfer of prizes will be allowed, except Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to substitute prizes of comparable value, in whole or in part, for any reason. THE WINNER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPORTING AND PAYING ANY INCOME TAXES OR OTHER TAXES THAT MAY APPLY TO ACCEPTING A PRIZE; SPONSOR AND ADMINISTRATOR ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AND WILL NOT PAY ANY SUCH TAXES.

DATES/DEADLINES: Because of the unique nature and scope of the Challenge, Sponsor and Administrator reserve the right, in addition to those other rights reserved herein, to modify any dates or deadlines set forth in these Official Rules or otherwise governing the Challenge.

GENERAL LIABILITY RELEASE/FORCE MAJEURE: Each entrant agrees that Sponsor and Administrator (a) shall not be responsible or liable for any losses, damages, or injuries of any kind (including death) resulting from participation in the Challenge or any Challenge-related activity, or from entrants' acceptance, receipt, possession, use, or misuse of any prize, and (b) have not made any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, with respect to any prize, including, without limitation, regarding such prize's merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Entrants will indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Sponsor and Administrator from and against all third party claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising from entrant's participation in the Challenge. Sponsor and Administrator assumes no responsibility for any damage to an entrant's computer system which is occasioned by accessing the Website or other Challenge-related websites or participating in the Challenge, or for any computer system, phone line, hardware, software, or program malfunctions, or other errors, failures, delayed computer transmissions, or network connections that are human or technical in nature. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Sponsor and Administrator are not responsible for incomplete, illegible, misdirected, misprinted, late, lost, postage-due, damaged, or stolen entries or prize notifications; or for lost, interrupted, inaccessible, or unavailable networks, servers, satellites, Internet Service Providers, websites, or other connections; or for miscommunications, failed, jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected computer, telephone, cable transmissions or other communications; or for any technical malfunctions, failures, difficulties, or other errors of any kind or nature; or for the incorrect or inaccurate capture of information, or the failure to capture any information. Sponsor and Administrator each reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual who is found to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Challenge or Website or other Challenge-related websites, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules, or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with the intent to disrupt or undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge, or to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person, and Sponsor and Administrator each reserve the right to seek damages and other remedies from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. In the event an insufficient number of eligible entries are received or Sponsor and/or Administrator is prevented from awarding the prize or continuing with the Challenge as contemplated herein by any event beyond its control, including, without limitation, fire, flood, natural or man-made epidemic, earthquake, explosion, labor dispute or strike, act of God or public enemy, satellite or equipment failure, riot or civil disturbance, terrorist threat or activity, war (declared or undeclared) or any federal state or local government law, order, or regulation, public health crisis, order of any court or jurisdiction, or other cause not reasonably within Sponsor's control ("Force Majeure"), Sponsor and/or Administrator shall have the right to modify, suspend, or terminate the Challenge. If the Challenge is terminated for Force Majeure before expiration of the Challenge Period, Sponsor and/or Administrator will (if reasonably possible) select a winner from all eligible, non-suspect entries received as of the date of the event giving rise to the termination. These Official Rules cannot be modified or amended in any way except in a written document issued in accordance with the law by a duly authorized representative of both Sponsor and Administrator. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Official Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Official Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.


WINNERS LIST/OFFICIAL RULES: To obtain any legally-required winners list (after the conclusion of the Challenge) or a copy of these Official Rules, send a self-addressed envelope with the proper postage affixed to: Health 2.0, LLC, Attn: Health 2.0 Developer Challenges, 350 Townsend Street #403, San Francisco, CA 94107. Please specify "winners list" or "Official Rules" and the name of the specific Challenge in your request.

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