For Immediate Release
October 25, 2023
Contact Information

Lydia G. Sermons, Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing

(BPRW) Spelman College Partners with Johnson & Johnson to Find Innovative Ideas to Address Health Inequities in Communities

(Black PR Wire) ATLANTA — Spelman College is proud to serve as the academic partner with Johnson & Johnson for their 2023-2024 Health Equity Innovation Challenge (HEIC). The goal of the Challenge, created in 2021, is to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and socioeconomic impact by supporting innovative health equity solutions developed by local entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovators and community-based organizations.

This year, the Challenge welcomes our local community here in Atlanta, as well as individuals in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia. Applications are open now through November 6. The Health Equity Innovation Challenge invites local innovators, entrepreneurs and community-based organizations to submit their ideas on how to prevent and treat illnesses disproportionately affecting communities of color, enhance equitable access to healthcare, stimulate diversity in science, advocate for more trusted community-based healthcare and promote health equity through community engagement and education.

An independent panel of renowned public health and health equity experts with diverse experience in healthcare delivery, advocacy, entrepreneurship and academia will review the applications. Spelman President Helene Gayle is the HEIC chairperson and will serve on a panel that includes Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.; Eddie Martinez; Kathryn Finney; Kiera Smalls; and Uché Blackstock, M.D. In addition to the panel of expert judges, select individuals appointed by the Challenge's academic partner, Spelman College, will review and screen the applications.

For more information on the Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Innovation Challenge and the 2023 application, please visit


About Spelman College

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,300 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.Ds. in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.Ds. in economics. New majors and minors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, data science, refugee studies and gaming. Collaborations have been also established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, former Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, Federal Reserve Governor Lisa D. Cook, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard University professor and former Dean Evelynn Hammonds, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.

Source: Spelman College