The Innovation Prize is a $10,000 and a $5,000 cash prize that is awarded to the two best social impact pitches that are presented at the 2017 Global Health & Innovation Conference, to be held in New Haven at Yale University on April 22-23, 2017.

The Global Health & Innovation Conference (#GHIC) is the world’s leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference, with 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries, according to conference organizers.

The conference was developed by Unite for Site, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit global health delivery organization that is free of commercial interests and committed to promoting high-quality health care for all. GHIC 2017 will be Unite For Sight’s 14th annual conference, having grown from a conference of about 100 participants in its first year.unite-for-sight-logo

Unite For Sight, headquartered on Church Street in New Haven, supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care. Unite For Sight applies best practices in eye care, public health, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship to achieve our goal of high-quality eye care for all. The programs are locally led and managed by ophthalmologists at Unite For Sight’s partner eye clinics.

unite-2Unite For Sight’s international eye care services with partner local eye clinics are provided year-round and are comprehensive, including examinations by local eye doctors, diagnosis and care for treatable conditions, education, and preventative care. The organization’s website indicates that Unite For Sight has provided eye care services to more than 2.1 million people worldwide, including more than 93,166 sight-restoring surgeries.

The conference is expected to include 300 speakers, including keynote addresses from:

  • Vanessa Kerry, Founder and CEO, Seed Global Health
  • Jeffrey Sachs, PhD, Director of Earth Institute, Columbia University; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University; Special Advisor to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon
  • Sonia Sachs, Director, Health Sector, Earth Institute, Columbia University; Health Coordinator, Millennium Village Project
  • Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner

Unite for Sight was founded in 2000 by Jennifer Staple-Clark, then a sophomore at Yale University, in her dorm room. Unite For Sight is now a leader both in global health education and in providing cost-effective care to the world’s poorest people. Staple-Clark, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, is being honored in November by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce as a Millennial Move Maker.unite

She is the recipient of the 2011 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, presented by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to “an individual whose contributions in the realm of community service, advocacy or grassroots activism have elevated the debate or changed the landscape with respect to a public issue or issues.” In 2015, Middlebury College’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship presented Jennifer with the Vision Award “to recognize leadership and vision in the world of social entrepreneurship.”

Topics at the April conference will also include design thinking; education and school-based programs; environment health, energy, food and agriculture; healthcare delivery, university education initiatives; health policy, mental and neurological health; patient-centered initiatives; marketing communications; social entrepreneurship; surgery & global health; technology in global health; and non-communicable diseases.

unite-3The conference also includes Social Impact Labs, which provide an opportunity for selected speakers to present their new idea in the format of a 5-minute pitch. All of the presentations are ideas that are being developed, meaning that the ideas are in the brainstorming, early development, or early implementation stage.  Following each presenter’s 5-minute pitch, there is a 15-minute period for discussion and coaching with two expert speakers, questions, answers, and feedback from the audience.

For Innovation Prize at the 2017 GHIC, there are two categories: Early Stage (idea, program, or organization is less than 3 years old, and ideas in the brainstorming stage are also eligible) and Established Stage (program or organization is 3-6 years old). A newer program (0-6 years old) that is within an established (7+ year old) organization qualifies for the Social Impact Lab category as well.

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