The Aetna Foundation is awarding $4.5 million in grants through its Healthier World Innovation Challenge, a new initiative designed to improve chronic health outcomes in underserved communities using technology that is readily available.

"Leveraging digital health technology works at the community level to empower change and improve health. We’re committed to raising awareness and fueling change in this rapidly changing arena," foundation executives said in announcing the contest.

The foundation says the Healthier World Innovation Challenge will create solutions that will empower members of underserved populations to take control of their health with real-world solutions that fit into their everyday lives through technology they are already using. All non-profit and community organizations with a 501(c)(3) status, and state and local government agencies, are eligible to enter. Up to six winners will receive grants of up to $750,000 each over three consecutive years.

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

*Innovative use of developed technology in real-world interventions

*Potential impact on underserved populations with high chronic disease prevalence

*Demonstrated credibility and influence in their targeted communities based on the types and quality of partnerships and coalitions being presented

*Engagement of community partners to help drive measurable health outcomes

*Ability to track positive health change over a three year period through evidence-based approaches

*Ability to scale for use across platforms in different community settings

In addition, contestants will be asked to use social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Organizations interested in entering the Challenge can download information on Jan. 5, 2015.

Full information about the contest is available here.

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