Read about the past winners of the AHA Innovation Challenge.

2019 | 2018

2019 Innovation Challenge Winners

It's Time to Disrupt Community Health

The 2019 Innovation Challenge was focused on finding new ways to use technology to address social determinants, such as food, housing, transportation and jobs, and connecting people with proper resources that meet community health needs. Ideas ranged from mobile apps to artificial intelligence to data collection. Top three proposals earned $100,000 - $25,000 - $15,000 to help bring these winning concepts to life.

1st Place:
NewYork-Presbyterian

Innovation Challenge Winner - NewYork-Presbyterian

AHA; Mindy Estes, Maryjane Wurth | Sponsor; Lori Dennis | Winners; Davina Vaswani Prabhu, Liora Hoffman, Tatiana Blue

Winning concept:
Using Digital Tools to Impact Early Childhood Development and Maternal Health

Unaddressed social determinants of health (SDOH) needs in the first three years of life can have substantial downstream consequences and contribute to multi-generational health risks for mother and child. Finding innovative ways to screen for and address SDOH-related risks early in the post-partum period while simultaneously focusing on parenting and child development can substantially improve maternal and child health and put the dyad on a healthy life trajectory. Building on their partnership with the HealthySteps program, an evidence-based national model that embeds a child development professional in the primary care team to help address basic new mother and child needs, NewYork-Presbyterian’s winning concept utilizes telehealth to maximize care.

The concept deploys a three-prong approach:

  1. Link SDOH screening with early childhood developmental screening, while providing a real-time glimpse into the home environment.
  2. Leverage digital health tools to improve provider’s ability to assess SDOH-related risks in the home.
  3. Increase patient engagement through virtual check-ins, limiting traditional barriers to care that often lead to loss to follow up for the neediest patients.

Leveraging telehealth to address key aims of the HealthySteps program will transform the way hospitals and health systems provide care to new mothers and children, creating a strong foundation for growth and development throughout the life course.



Innovation Challenge Winner - Henry Ford Health System

Sponsor; Lori Dennis | Winners; April Sutton-Dudley, Martina Caldwell

Winning concept:
Women-Empowered Community Access for Reproductive Equity (WE CARE)

Women-Empowered Community Access for Reproductive Equity (WE CARE) is a novel Emergency Department (ED) intervention that uses online health technology and community health workers (CHWs) to provide vulnerable reproductive-aged women with point-of-care family planning services during non-emergent ED visits. It uses a theory-informed, evidence-based, patient-centered, interactive online reproductive health education and decision support tool called MyPath. This new tool aims to help women consider their reproductive goals, become better informed on fertility, contraception and preconception health, and align contraceptive decisions with family-planning goals. It also engages providers in shared decision-making.

Other key components of the program include:

  • Psychosocial support,
  • Reproductive health prevention screenings, and
  • Referrals to relevant health care and community services.

The goal is to reduce unintended pregnancies, improve pregnancy-related health inequities, improve social determinants of health and drive cost efficiencies.

Innovation Challenge Winner - Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Sponsor; Lori Dennis | Winners; Ashwini Lakshmanan, Karyn Spear, Maxine Ogbaa

Winning concept:
Improving Health Equity during Care Transition and Follow-up of High Risk Infants

Approximately 500,000 high-risk infants are hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in the U.S. each year. Difficulties with transition and follow-up are pronounced in low-income, Hispanic and African-American populations. Families with high-risk infants are often unaware of community resources and encounter fragmented service lines and may face additional challenges due to their linguistic and cultural needs. This winning team set out to find a solution to improve health equity in the transition and follow-up of underserved families with high-risk infants.

The concept, called Baby Steps LA, is a mHealth application that provides medical information, resources, task lists and a wellness page customized for underserved communities. The tool also gives families the opportunity to participate in a moderated online support group.

The approach focused on the fundamentals of community health: Meet with community partners to understand barriers and needs in the community, assess their views on the utility of the digital application, and design a transition curriculum that will focus on social determinants of health.

The 2019 AHA Innovation Challenge sponsored by:

First American Healthcare Finance Logo

2018 Innovation Challenge Winners

We received nearly 100 submissions for the 2018 Innovation Challenge – a fantastic response in the first year of the Challenge. Thanks to every organization and team that participated.

1st Place:
Parkview Health

Innovation Challenge Winner - Parkview Health

$100,000 Prize

Winning concept:
Technology Enabled On-Demand Support for Addiction Recovery

Parkview Health’s submission, “Technology Enabled On-Demand Support for Addiction Recovery,” identified the need for a reconfigured approach to a national problem in a vulnerable population of opioid use disorder patients in Northeast Indiana.

Their blending of peer coaching, primary navigators and a mobile app – that allowed "escalation flexibility," distress notification and "nudging" – addressed the very fragmented care provided to opioid use disorder patients in today’s care delivery model.

Their compelling, well-designed model builds on proven techniques that go beyond what is available in most communities today and ties it to health providers in practical ways. Hear their story>>



Innovation Challenge Winner - University of Pennsylvania Health System Philadelphia, PA

$25,000 Prize

Winning concept:
Heart Safe Motherhood

Penn Medicine’s submission, “Heart Safe Motherhood,” presented a thoughtful, patient-centered, innovative approach that leveraged technology and redefined the role of obstetrical providers to drive better outcomes for women with pregnancy-related and chronic hypertension in the immediate post-partum period.

In this model, providers are able to engage, monitor, and manage patients with pregnancy-related hypertension from hospital admission, through delivery and after they have gone home.

The model delivers objective measurable results, is cost effective, and financially sustainable for such a significant at-risk population.

Judges suggested that this model could significantly improve care if spread across the country.

Innovation Challenge Winner - West Tennessee Healthcare Jackson, Tennessee

$15,000 Prize

Winning concept:
Improving Health Equity during Care Transition and Follow-up of High Risk Infants

West Tennessee Healthcare and Pathways Behavioral Health Services’ submission, “Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Criminal Justice System: A Collaborative to Reach the Most Vulnerable,” identified several co-dependent issues that significantly impact medical and mental health, well-being, community economics, and resources, and developed a very innovative collaborative solution.

They clearly identified their population and developed patient-centered interventions while reducing overall medical costs and other non-medical community costs – saving taxpayer dollars.

Their outcomes to date have been remarkable in reducing acute care hospital emergency department mental health visits and in reducing substance abuse arrests and bookings.

This is truly a "collaborative community-wide innovation" that is making a real difference.

The 2018 AHA Innovation Challenge sponsored by:

First American Healthcare Finance Logo
Roger g. Larson Memorial Logo
HRET Logo | AHA