Around the world, countries are working to strengthen health systems, increase access to quality care, and end preventable deaths. While there has been marked progress in certain regions and for certain health issues, this progress has not been evenly distributed. The fact that a child from the poorest 20% of households is still nearly twice as likely to die before the age of 5 as one from the wealthiest 20% illustrates the wide gaps between the rich and poor, urban and rural, both within and across countries. In addition to the challenge of persistent health inequalities, the “dual burden” of communicable (e.g. outbreaks like Zika and Ebola) and non-communicable disease (e.g. rising levels of diabetes and respiratory conditions) is placing added stress on health systems that are already overstretched and under-resourced. Innovations that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems, while also increasing access for vulnerable populations will be absolutely critical in the push to end preventable deaths in both the US and around the world.

The Challenge

The challenge for this category is to describe an intervention that would alleviate a global health concern, either domestically or internationally. Proposals submitted to this category should (a) demonstrate evidence of a widespread health concern faced by resource-constrained populations, and (b) develop a system, program, or technology that is culturally appropriate within the target communities and designed for low-resource settings.

Examples of proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • A medical innovation project that promotes effective diagnosis or treatment
  • A public health containment effort or surveillance technique to address infectious disease epidemics
  • A public health prevention project that raises awareness among at-risk populations
  • An economic, public policy or advocacy-based initiative that aims to reduce barriers to accessing effective health services in underserved communities.


The “Global Health” category is open to all matriculated students across the 10-campus University of California system, as well all matriculated students from Makerere University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.   For additional information about general contest rules, timing and how to apply, please refer to the Contest Application Requirements.

Past Winners

Visualize: Saving Lives with Training for Cervical Cancer Screening (UC Berkeley)

Visualize: Saving Lives with Training for Cervical Cancer Screening (UC Berkeley)

FloGlow (UC Berkeley)

FloGlow (UC Berkeley)

PedalTap (Makerere University)

PedalTap (Makerere University)

More Winners


USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.

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