May 19, 2021
Meet our Catalyst 2021 Semifinalists
Today, CTIA Wireless Foundation announced our Catalyst 2021 Semifinalists. After receiving applications from across the United States, I am proud to introduce these six changemakers who are using wireless technology to improve health outcomes for communities nationwide.
Last year, we saw the power of wireless in action. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused Americans to stay home, wireless allowed us to connect to one another and access remote healthcare services. The need for innovative solutions to pressing health and well-being issues continues to grow, and our Catalyst 2021 Semifinalists are rising to the challenge. Wireless technology and the advent of 5G are fueling their solutions to our greatest healthcare challenges, including inequitable access to and delivery of health services. These early stage social entrepreneurs are building the connected future of healthcare.
We are thrilled to recognize these social entrepreneurs who are using cutting-edge applications of wireless technology to improve the health and well-being of Americans. Let’s meet our Catalyst 2021 Semifinalists:
Bloomlife is a wearable patch and companion app for prenatal health that tracks critical maternal and fetal health parameters. Two industry professionals, Eric Dy, Ph.D. and Julian Penders, founded Bloomlife after an experience with infertility. Seeing an opportunity to leverage technology to bring innovation to prenatal care and maternal health, Bloomlife was created to empower women with information and provide clinicians with better tools and data to earlier predict and manage pregnancy complications.
EmPowerYu is a remote healthcare monitoring system for those aging in place. Using IoT sensors, an app, SMS texting and a web platform, EmPowerYu is redefining remote monitoring and telehealth so people at high medical risk can stay more safely in their own homes. Laura McIntosh, Ph.D., founded EmPowerYu after experience as a long distance caregiver for her mother. EmPowerYu’s vision is to have an in-home system that supports data-driven healthcare, while taking the burden of documentation off caregivers and care recipients.
A digital platform for remote monitoring of patients with chronic respiratory illness, Keva Health aims to reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The platform uses CDC-recommended EXHALE guidelines to improve outcomes and reduce costs through innovative, remote monitoring technology combined with evidence-based programs for respiratory care. Founders Shail and Jyotsna Mehta started Keva Health after their three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with asthma to provide patients with a cost-effective solution to help manage their respiratory health.
Using text message, voice and web, mRelief creates access to nutritious food for American families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). mRelief is an easy to use platform for Americans to find out if they qualify for food stamps, and then to enroll if eligible. Founders Rose Afriyie and Genevieve Nielsen learned first-hand the importance of food stamps and improved social service delivery after experiences in the Bronx and New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mRelief focused on SNAP due to the high demand on food banks and assistive services.
OkaySo is an app connecting young people to trained mental health experts for personalized support related to stress, sex, relationships, identity and more. Founders Elise Schuster, MPH, and Francisco Ramirez were LGBTQ-identified teens who felt alone without access to support and information. They built OkaySo to address the fundamental gaps and inequalities in current sex education and mental health support systems. Through the app, young people can ask questions to teams of experts who provide accurate, non-judgmental personalized responses.
Parrots empowers people with neurological challenges and their caregivers. Through an AI-enhanced assistive device named Polly, Parrots gives a smart voice and telecare to people with neurological disorders through Bluetooth or LTE/5G networks. Parrots solutions increase the speed of communication, help users control their environments, and provide telecare services to improve patient-centered care and maximize independence. Founder David Hojah created Parrots after witnessing his aunt and friend struggle with MS and ALS.
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These innovative social enterprises will move to the second round of the application process, where our team of Catalyst Advisors will select the top three finalists who are eligible for grants of up to $100,000.
We are inspired by the work of these social entrepreneurs who are harnessing the power of wireless technology to create solutions to major healthcare challenges and honored to recognize their achievements as part of Catalyst!
A grants program for social entrepreneurs accelerating wireless innovation for health and well-being.