Public Health Intern Innovation Challenge 2014

By Gillian Christie and Elle Alexander

The Vitality Institute, Clinton Foundation, and GENYOUth Foundation hosted the final session of the Public Health Intern Innovation Challenge on August 12, 2014. Interns from eight organizations in New York City, including the Clinton Foundation, GENYOUth Foundation, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, collaborated over the course of four sessions to develop innovations targeting leading chronic disease risk factors. The ideas include:

No Fruit or Veg Left Behind: Inspired by the overwhelmingly successful Intermarche campaign, No Fruit or Veg Left Behind targets unhealthy eating via a social media campaign to raise awareness on waste of deformed fruits and vegetables in the United States.

LockStep: LockStep features computer reminders to encourage physical activity in the workplace. Rewards are offered when the individual checks-in at different offsite locations.

Swap Your Smoke: Swap Your Smoke offers a mobile application to assist with quitting cigarette smoking. The app recommends points of interest in New York City, such as museums and art galleries, to support visits to swap their smoke.

AdhereRx: AdhereRx prints QR codes on pill bottles to support medication adherence. Partnering with small pharmacies, points are rewarded to those who ingest their medication within an hour of receiving a text message. Points can subsequently be used to discount future medication purchases.

At the final session, interns presented their ideas to a panel of health leaders, including Alexis Glick, CEO, GENYOUth Foundation; Rain Henderson, CEO, Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Clinton Foundation; and Vera Oziransky, Project Manager, Vitality Institute. Presentations included the team’s idea; stakeholder impact map; implementation and evaluation plans; incentives and rewards; and proposed budget. A captivating story underpinned the presentation, which were developed in a training session with Story Pirates. In the coming months, interns have the opportunity to further develop their ideas with partner organizations to bring them to scale.

How can we work with your organization to bring these ideas to scale? Tweet at the Vitality Institute @VitalityInst or email Gillian Christie at We look forward to hearing from you!   

Image: Swap Your Smoke uses the power of storytelling to communicate their idea to the audience.

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