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Catalyzing a New Generation of Wireless Innovation for Health

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Dori Kreiger
Executive Director

I’m thirty-thousand feet above sea level, flying back from a week in Los Angeles. I just presented CTIA Wireless Foundation’s newest initiative to our Board of Directors. Everyone is excited. I can’t wait to get started.

And then I feel it. A little buzz on my wrist. I steal a glance. It’s time to get up. To stretch. Do a lap down the aisle and get my steps in.

Ever since I got it, this little smartwatch has changed the way I think about my health by . . . well, making sure I think about it. And that’s just one small way in which wireless technology has an impact on health and wellness.

In fact, wireless is increasingly critical to addressing individual and public health challenges. In a 2017 survey of healthcare executives, 84 percent said that wireless technologies helps generate better outcomes. Emerging 5G networks will have an even greater impact, breaking down barriers with more advanced telemedicine solutions and pushing the limits of what’s possible with new AR, VR and AI applications.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share that today, CTIA Wireless Foundation is launching Catalyst, a new competitive grants program that will unleash the power of social entrepreneurship to accelerate the development of wireless innovations that will address America’s most pressing health and wellness issues.

And I’m humbled to announce that we’ve partnered with some truly outstanding leaders to make it a reality including:

  • Vikrum Aiyer who leads global public policy for the on-demand technology platform, Postmates.
  • Mary Galeti who funds social innovation and entrepreneurship at the Tecovas Foundation.
  • Sarah Koch who leads the social innovation team at the Case Foundation.
  • Nancy Lublin who founded Crisis Text Line to help people stay safe and healthy.
  • Bryan Sivak head of the Medicaid Transformation and Ventures team at Kaiser Permanente Ventures.
  • Nicole Turner-Lee, one of the nation’s leading experts on equitable access to technology and a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Together, we’re looking to identify and fund solutions that use the power of wireless to unlock new mHealth applications, such as telemedicine and health data analytics services, new solutions that improve access to care, and technologies that enhance the diet, fitness and psychological well-being of Americans.

Starting today through December 9, 2019, social entrepreneurs are encouraged to submit applications by visiting www.wirelessfoundation.org/catalyst. Ten semi-finalists will be selected in January, 2020 to participate in an invitation-only second round. Three finalists will be selected in late spring 2020, where the first, second and third place grants will be announced and honored with $100,000, $50,000, and $25,000, respectively.

Wireless innovation has had an increasingly important role to play in addressing societal challenges since the first cell phone call about forty years ago. It’s why I joined CTIA Wireless Foundation last year. Whether it has to do with raising awareness of domestic violence or fighting distracted driving, we’ve been at the forefront of using wireless technology to drive positive social change.

And while we continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of the wireless industry, we aim to use this program to catalyze social entrepreneurial efforts in communities nationwide. I’m incredibly hopeful that investing philanthropic dollars in early-stage social entrepreneurs will allow us to have an out-sized impact on improving health outcomes.

I’m proud to start the next chapter, and I hope you’ll join me. So please share this post widely and, if you know someone with might qualify, encourage them to submit.

Catalyst

Accelerating Wireless Innovation for Health and Wellness

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