By Aisosa Omorogbe, Jennifer Dias, and Isaac Faith

Oct 27, 2020

Diversity Innovation Hub was launched to accelerate innovative solutions that address health disparities in communities that face barriers to care, and also to increase the participation of minority and women entrepreneurs in the health technology sector. In a study carried out jointly by Rate My Investor and DiversityVC, it was found that 77.1 percent of founders were white — regardless of gender and education. It was also noted that women-funded startups received only 9 percent of investments. We hope to change the narrative by allowing everyone to have a seat at the table.

We’re excited to be launching our inaugural DIH Pitch Day competition, an opportunity for new entrepreneurs to pitch ideas that address racial equity, health disparities, and social determinants of health through innovation. Coming off the success of the DIH Pathway initiative which ended last week, one founder shared, “Even within a specific subset of digital health/healthcare products, there are so many problems to be solved and so many potential solutions. Partnering with and interviewing diverse individuals with diverse perspectives on shared experiences, healthcare, and technology is the best way forward when determining what route is best.” And from the words of another participant, “DIH showed the complexity of building a business in this space while helping break down the major milestones into doable steps. I learned so much and really appreciate the time you all put into the program!”

We want DIH Pitch Day to be an open-ended call and a platform for all aspiring and early-stage founders working in social determinants of health (SDoH). We are especially excited to support diverse and underrepresented founders, and strongly believe pushing forward diversity in innovation is and will continue to be the lifeblood of who we are. Pitch Day represents just one way in which we aim to do so.

Our Pitch Day is scheduled for Monday, November 9th, from 5:00 pm — 7:30 pm, where ten founders will have 6 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of 5 judges who have led successful startups in their field and have significant expertise in the intersections of technology and health.

More about our judges:

    • Melynda Barnes is a board-certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and Otolaryngologist, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Research at Ro and Clinical Director for Rory, Ro’s digital clinic for women’s health.
    • Ikenna Okezie is a founder of Somatus, a company providing preventive and holistic integrated care for patients at risk for developing chronic kidney disease. Before founding Somatus, Ikenna led operations for the mid-Atlantic group of DaVita, Inc.
    • Samuel Yamoah is a health equity partner at Mckinsey with over 15 years of experience in healthcare consulting and industry.
    • Candace Richardson is an investor at Town Hall Ventures, an incubator/company dedicated to working with entrepreneurs who want to transform care delivery and outcomes for underserved communities across the country.
    • Ifeoma Ike is an equity, inclusion, and impact strategist, a founding partner at Pink Cornrows, a newly launched impact consulting firm composed of equity and inclusion experts, policy strategists and creative directors striving to solve issues of equity in our community.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a strong interest in SDoH and a commitment to brainstorming solutions in this space, we invite you to apply to our DIH Pitch Day. Knowing how essential community perspectives are in addressing the systemic challenges underlying our healthcare system, we welcome your help spreading the word to any individuals or groups that may be interested in amplifying our call to action!

In addition to funding, the top teams from the Pitch day will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the DIH incubator and our community partners for further development of their ideas into a marketable product or startup.

Find more details about Pitch Day and our application here!

Aisosa Omorogbe is an MS4 and MPH candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine with a background in clinical research focused on social determinants of health.

Jennifer Dias is an MS2 at Icahn School of Medicine with a background in user experience testing in clinical research.

Isaac Faith is a Co-Founder of the Diversity Innovation Hub and a Strategy Associate at Verily. He has a background in business development and growth.