A 5 week virtual program to hone new ideas addressing social determinants of health
By Sherman Leung, Jennifer Dias, and Katie Hanss

Aug 19, 2020

Healthcare innovation has long overlooked the disparities and inequities that our most marginalized communities face on a daily basis. One’s zip code is often a powerful predictor of life expectancy, and recent national events of civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic have further unveiled the gaping chasm between those with means and those without. Though the digital health industry has seen much growth and adoption of social entrepreneurship to address the differences we see, there is no better time than now to call for more innovation.

We launched the Diversity Innovation Hub to accelerate innovative solutions that address health disparities in communities that face more barriers to care, and also to increase the participation of minority and women entrepreneurs in the health technology sector. Today, we’re grateful to partner with many healthcare leaders and community partners that share this dual mission in launching our inaugural DIH Pathway initiative — a 5-week long, virtual crash course for aspiring founders and social entrepreneurs who want to develop their interests in digital health and social determinants of health (SDoH) into tangible ideas.

With workshops focused on the founder journey, customer discovery, user-centered design-thinking, market sizing, and pitching, the DIH Pathway will help founders build robust skills and artifacts that will culminate in DIH Pitch Day — a chance for 10 teams to pitch to a panel of SDoH experts for $15K in funding to take their ideas to the next level.

Innovation requires the intersection of a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives that deeply understand the needs of our most vulnerable communities. We hope to work closely with members of the East Harlem and NYC community in addition to our fellow Mount Sinai colleagues and affiliates as part of our DIH Pathway and Pitch Day initiatives. We also recognize that solutions to structurally-determined barriers warrant a diverse range of initiatives, including non-profits, research groups, companies, and other forms of social entrepreneurship, and we have structured our pathway to support ideas with that in mind.

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 learn more and apply to our DIH Pathway and Pitch Day. Knowing how important 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!

Learn more about each of our sessions and find application details.

Our application deadline is September 8th and the first session will start on September 22nd, 2020.

Sherman Leung is an MS2 at the Icahn School of Medicine with a background in digital health startups and venture capital.

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

Katie Hanss is an MS2 at the Icahn School of Medicine with a background in product and digital health venture capital.