Government, Industry Partner to Address Global Health Challenges

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The U.S. Agency for International Development, NASA, the Department of State and NIKE, Inc. have partnered on a initiative called LAUNCH, which seeks to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to humanity’s sustainability challenges.

The second event in the LAUNCH series, LAUNCH: Health, will focus specifically on health issues related to the first 20 years of life.

“USAID is excited to team up with NASA, NIKE and the Department of State for this unique forum,” said Alex Dehgan, director of USAID’s Office of Science and Technology. “We see LAUNCH as a great opportunity to support innovators and entrepreneurs who are helping provide sustainable solutions to today’s biggest development challenges.”

LAUNCH: Health will bring together entrepreneurs from around the world who will be selected based on their innovative approaches to addressing health issues. During the forum, the winners will discuss their proposed solutions to health issues with “council members” who represent business, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability sectors. The sessions are designed to identify challenges and discuss future opportunities for the entrepreneurs’ innovations.

LAUNCH: Health is seeking transformative innovations to improve health and quality of life on Earth, particularly in the first two decades of life, in categories such as nutrition and food; physical activity; and preventive healthcare.

Individuals and innovators can submit their ideas and health-related proposals through the InnoCentive website. Proposals will be accepted until Sept. 13, 2010 when the challenge closes and the winners are selected.

Those who are selected will be invited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Oct. 30-31, where the LAUNCH: Health forum will take place.

“NASA’s interest in technology development and problem solving in the area of human health issues makes hosting this discussion among innovators and thought leaders a natural fit,” said NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. “Solutions to health issues here on Earth have the potential to benefit space explorers of the future as well as humankind overall.”

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