Meet the Winners

The FIrst Cohort Finalists

From April to August, 2016 10 winning teams from our inaugural round of funding worked with us and our partners, the renouned design firm IDEO, to apply Design Thinking to their ideas to use technology for teen pregnancy prevention. On August 19, the ten teams presented their ideas in a kind of "Shark Tank" contest in front of a panel of judges.

First, we present the five winners of the second round of funding. These projects have been chosen to receive up to $325,000 to develop their innovative technology interventions over the coming 18 months. 

Project Name 
Boink: Your Sex Sidekick

The Team: Francisco Ramirez, Sexual Health Expert and Personality, New York, NY; Will Luxion, CTO, Playerbase, New York, NY; Elise Schuster, Supervisor of Training and Community Engagement, The Door, New York, NY; Amelia Holstrom, Evidence Based Program Coordinator, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY

Description 
The Boink Team plans to create a sex education resource that is as engaging as Facebook. They see Boink as an app for helping people with questions about sex and sexuality.  In particular, providing access to expertise, including answers to hundreds of questions and the ability to message experts and quickly get responses. In addition, they hope to use the app to foster a community of people who volunteer to support one another, and aggregate a wide range of resources to make them easier to find and engage. We love the Boink Team and think they are on to something with the notion of live interactions with experts and celebrities and raising the level of customer service in sexual health. Whatever the result, we think this team knows how to empathize with the audience and that is the first step to great insights.

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Project Name 
Starting the Conversation: Leveraging EHR Templates to Help Reluctant Providers Talk to their Adolescent Patients About Sexuality and Pregnancy Prevention

The Team: Breione St. Claire, Project Director, California Family Health Council, Los Angeles, CA; Dannelle Pietersz, Family Planning Clinical Programs Manager, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, CA; Amber Eisenmann, Director, Learning Exchange, California Family Health Council, Los Angeles, CA

Description 
This team sees a future where electronic health records (EHR) are used for more than just collecting data. They wonder how EHR scripts and prompts might equip providers with the language they need to talk to their teen patients about sexuality and pregnancy prevention, to identify their needs and preferences, to prescribe contraception when needed, and to suggest resources. They believe new EHR templates, which can eventually be integrated into systems nationwide, will help providers, “’fake it till they make it,’ acting as training wheels to get them started in their efforts to discuss these topics.”

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Project Name 
Hablemos: Empowering Hispanic/Latino Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Pregnancy Prevention

The Team: Julie Yegen, Senior Digital Media Associate, Westat, Rockville, MD; Eliana Loveluck, Senior Health Communication Specialist, Westat, Rockville, MD; Laura Lourenco, User Experience Design Manager, Westat, Rockville, MD

Description 
Research shows that Hispanic/Latino (H/L) parents in the U.S. rarely communicate openly about sexuality and contraception with their teens. But studies also indicate that those teens are more likely than some of their peers to say that their parents influence their decisions about sex. The Hablemos Team wagers they can close the communication gap within H/L families by developing the first-ever technology-based, parent-centered, culturally appropriate and relevant tool developed to empower H/L parents to talk to their kids in an effective way about pregnancy prevention. We think this team has the potential to get families talking and the ability to test whether that makes a difference in the health outcomes of the teens.

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Project Name 
An Instant Gratification Situation

The Team: Liz Romer, Director of Family Planning Program, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver, CO; Lauren Butts, Social Media Strategist, Sprocket Communications, Denver, CO; Stephanie Begun, PhD Candidate and Adjunct Faculty, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Denver, CO

Description
In order to reach teens who are not currently seeking birth control services, the trio behind An Instant Gratification Situation wants to create content, stories, resources, and messaging that fits into the lives of today's teen. Building on the success they have had developing content for the BC4U program, they have a particular interest in creating more content to distribute in the social media channels where teens are active today. But they also have an idea that creating a very personal way to make appointments with providers—even asking questions beforehand—can be a difference-maker in helping young people get reproductive healthcare.

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Project Name 
MySexEd

The Team: Liz Chen, Doctoral Student, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC; Vichi Jagannathan, MBA candidate, Yale School of Management, New Haven, CT; Cristina Leos, Doctoral Student, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC

Description 
The MySexEd Team wants to bring sexual education into the 21st Century by meeting middle school students where they are: on their phones. Building on previous experience developing another health app and relying on close ties with rural teens in NC and urban youth in TX, this team plans to create a tailored, online sex ed program that they hope will increase access to, engagement with, and effectiveness of current sex education curricula. The team hypothesizes that their individualized, online approach to sex education will be more effective than the classroom-instruction status quo. We can’t wait to see how Design Thinking influences the future of sex ed.

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Below are the other five winners of the first round of funding and their original descriptions. Many, if not all, of the teams will continue to develop their ideas and seek investors. To learn how we decided upon the group of 10 teams for the initial round of funding, please view the page detailing how the winners were selected

 

Project Name 
The It Kit

The Team: Margot Mausner, Producer, ISL, Washington, DC; Maggie Gaudaen, Art Director, ISL, Washington, DC; Julian Gindi, Lead Infrastructure Engineer, ISL, Washington, DC

Description 
The It Kit Team wonders, “How might we reduce the rate of teen pregnancy by providing teens with the knowledge and supplies to lead healthy, sex-positive lives?” The team intends to explore the idea of a subscription service—think Birchbox or Trunk Club for birth control—that will make it fun and tactile to learn about safe sex. Through some new technology wizardry that the team will invent, teens who receive the box will be able to interact with the objects in it by text message. This will give them an easy, private way to ask questions. The It Kit has the potential to improve the customer service aspect of birth control decision-making by making it engaging and informative.

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Project Name 
Love Life Rules

The Team: Cindy Carraway-Wilson, Director of Training, Youth Catalytics, Charlotte, VT; Sixto M. Cancel, CEO, Think of Us, Richmond, VA; Somiah Lattimore, Chief Creative Officer, Think of Us, Richmond, VA

Description 
The goal of the Love Life Rules Team project is to reduce pregnancies and STIs in youth in, or formerly in, foster care by helping them articulate, set, and adhere to personal rules for healthy romantic relationships. If the design process confirms their hunch, Love Life Rules will be a comprehensive, interactive, sequential self-coaching experience for web and mobile applications that will help foster care youth gain concrete, practical knowledge about dating, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and sexuality (including pregnancy and STI prevention).  This work will be a tailored experience for an audience often overlooked.

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Project Name 
Don’t Make It Weird

The Team: Susan E. Williams, Founder and Lead Principal, Agency Other, Santa Monica, CA; Becky Reitzes, Consultant in Public Health, Family Planning and Sexual Health Education, Seattle and King County, WA; Annie Hoopes, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Adolescent Medicine Section, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO

Description 
The central question the Don’t Make it Weird Team plans to address is “How do we catalyze parents, guardians and other supportive adults to promote positive sexual health among young people and reduce teen pregnancy?” The team is interested in the potential to connect parents to timely, modern resources and tools that optimize their ability to support the sexual and reproductive health needs of children and adolescents. Research shows that young people want parents and guardians to discuss sexual health and that it can have a huge impact. Still, there are too few technology-driven interventions for this parent and guardian audience. We think the Don’t Make It Weird team is the perfect group to take this on. 

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Project Name 
Juntos

The Team: Helen Hua Wang, Assistant Professor of Communication; Research Assistant Professor of Community Heath and Health Behavior, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY; Hector Ceballos, Manager, Research and Development, Wise Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA; Laura Davis, Division Director of Adolescent Sexual Health Services, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Advocates for Youth, Washington, DC

Description 
The Juntos Team plans to engage Latino tweens and teens, along with important people in their social networks, to co-create a sustainable platform to share compelling stories, build critical skills, and take real actions to promote their sexual and reproductive health. This team is trying to include the person’s social surroundings in delivering sexual health information. It could be thought of as the “East Los High Method” as all team members have experience with that hit show and understand the value of storytelling and modeling to change behavior. The field needs more engaging and socially relevant approaches to presenting sexual health information and the Juntos team brings that.

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Project Name 
VizClinic: First person exploration virtual reality game
 
The Team: Bhupendra Sheoran, Executive Director, YTH, Oakland, CA; Alex Medina, Digital Communications Officer, YTH, Oakland, CA; Vianey Twyford, Youth Advisory Board Member, YTH, Oakland, CA

Description
The VizClinic team wants to revolutionize the way young people experience the delivery of sexual health services. They see an existing gap between service availability and utilization, and attribute at least some of it to the fear and anxiety teens have about what to expect during a clinic visit.  Their proposal for bringing more teens into clinics is to first bring the clinic to the teens through a first-person virtual reality game. They hypothesize that an immersive experience where teens can visit a clinic, ask questions, and advocate for themselves will increase youth’s self-efficacy and empowerment, allowing them to access services with confidence. We think this is the team to bring a novel virtual reality experience to our field.

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