The Aetna Foundation today announced more than $1.2 million in grants to support the use of digital health tools and innovation for underserved and minority populations. The grants are part of a larger $4 million, three-year digital health commitment from the Aetna Foundation for the implementation and evaluation of digital health technology innovations to help address public health concerns, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The $4 million grant will be allocated to a diverse group of 23 organizations across 13 states focused on leveraging digital health to improve consumer health, including:
- health care organizations
- regional hospitals
- grassroots interventions e.g. Text4Wellness program
All selected organizations for the grant must meet strong evidence-based criteria to ensure the Aetna Foundation digital health program is successful in improving the overall health of undeserved and minority communities. These criteria include:
- sustainable projects that can demonstrate scalability
- projects that have the potential for positive societal impact
- digital health programs that leverage available evidence such as population health data or health care data
- digital health support built on a strong foundation of behavioral or applicable theory and grounded in research.
Recent research from Pew Research Center reveals a large percentage of minority and low income population use their phones to look for health information.
“Disparities in health care and limited access to preventive services are an unfortunate reality impacting the most vulnerable populations in our country today. However, we believe that digital health technology can serve as a powerful equalizer for improving health education and access to care among minority and low-income communities by reaching people where they are spending time — at school, at church, in their neighborhoods and on-the-go with real-time solutions that easily fit into their daily lives,” said Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., president of the Aetna Foundation. “By supporting technology that can empower individuals with the convenience and control to meet their personal health and wellness goals, the Aetna Foundation is working to build healthier communities, a healthier nation and a healthier world.”
The Foundation is also supporting a call for papers in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Public Health. To be considered for inclusion in this supplement, papers must be submitted by March 1, 2014, using the online submission system at http://www.editorialmanager.com/ajph.
To learn more about the Aetna Foundation’s Digital Health Initiative and tangible ways your organization can benefit from their digital health innovations commitment, visit http://bit.ly/1fY2VQ7 or join the digital health conversation on Twitter with #digitalhealth.