Designing for Better Health Competition Launched

Search is on for ideas that nudge people to make better decisions regarding their health and the health of others

    • January 13, 2009

RWJF and Ashoka’s Changemakers have launched a global search for individuals and institutions who help people make better decisions regarding their health and the health of others. Now through April 1, 2009 you are encouraged to enter your idea as part of the new online, open-source competition “Designing for Better Health.”

A Nudge Can Change Our Destiny
What can often make the difference in the options we choose about our health are the nudges we get. Nudges are innovative little pushes that can help us make better choices. These pushes can come from anywhere: the cafeteria worker who arranges school lunches in such a way that children naturally gravitate toward selecting fruit and other healthy foods, as opposed to unhealthy options; the health plan that provides “vitality bucks,” an alternative currency that allows people to earn shopping and travel rewards every time they complete healthy activities such as preventive screenings or fitness assessments; or an anti-smoking and asset-building campaign that offers smokers hoping to quit the option to invest the money they would normally spend on cigarettes in a savings account.

Nudges entail an individual or institution intentionally creating a choice environment that makes it easier for people to make decisions that can improve their health.

About the Competition 
Designing for Health is the fourth in a series of global, online competitions co-sponsored by RWJF and Changemakers. Changemakers’ unique competition platform provides a dynamic and participatory means for the Foundation to engage innovators across many disciplines. Through April 1, 2009 entrants can post their ideas on the Changemakers site, where a global network of social entrepreneurs gather and provide feedback and comments that the whole community can review. 

A panel of judges – including Brian Wansink, M.S., Ph.D., executive director for the Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Paul Tarini, M.A., RWJF senior program officer, and Carrie Chen, M.D., M.S.ed, associate clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco—will narrow the entry pool to 12 finalists. The global Changemakers community will then vote on three winners, who each will receive $5,000 awards from Changemakers.

In addition, RWJF will review competition entries to identify ideas that show potential for far-reaching impact on health and health care in the United States.  Some of these ideas may receive additional support from RWJF at a later date.

We hope you’ll participate in this competition by submitting your entry, nominating the promising vision of another social entrepreneur, sharing your thoughts and perspectives on the topic of designing for better health choices and/or reviewing and responding to ideas that are posted. 

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