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Idea Challenge: Ensuring Vaccine Equity and Increasing Vaccine Access

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First Place - Team Vitals

Second Place - Team LMN

Third Place - Team Cones vs. COVID



Team Bearcat

Team In the Nick of Time


Honorable Mention


Team Just a Little Prick


Additional Submissions

Meg Winslow

Team One for All, All for One


Live viewing of the videos with Q&A on Monday, April 26, 5-6 pm

Finalists will share their video pitches and answer questions before our judges deliberate and choose the winners. Celebrate the exciting conclusion of our inaugural Idea Challenge on Monday, April 26, 5 - 6 pm on Zoom. 


Purpose: To challenge teams of regional university and college students (at any level) to create innovative strategies for COVID-19 vaccine outreach to medically underserved communities

Mass vaccination will be key for achieving herd immunity as quickly as possible – as well as for decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with the virus. Engaging medically underserved communities is an on-going challenge in meeting the goal of mass vaccination. They can wary of majority medical care and disengaged from majority communication streams. They can also have challenges accessing transportation and broadband internet or 5G networks (or computers or smartphones). They can also have limited health literacy and perhaps limited understanding of American English. We need innovative solutions for overcoming these (and other) barriers. The Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) at NKU pioneers solutions to the health challenges facing Northern Kentucky. We drive change that directly addresses urgent unmet health needs. The IHI’s focus areas include chronic illness, social determinants of health, future health leaders, and accelerating innovation. 


The CHallenge

To accelerate COVID-19 vaccine outreach to our medically underserved communities, the NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation is hosting the Vaccine Idea Challenge. Teams of 3-5 college and university students (and a faculty or staff advisor) will compete to propose the best strategies for overcoming barriers to vaccination. Teams will design their solutions for one or more of the following communities:

  • Communities of color
  • Immigrant populations
  • ESL communities (English as Second Language)
  • Those homeless or housing insecure
  • Rural communities 


What We will Be looking for

We are seeking viable approaches to get accurate and timely COVID-19 Vaccination information to one or more of our medically underserved populations.

Participating teams will submit a video pitch no more than 5 minutes in length, describing

  • the community or communities of focus
  • the specific problem being solved
  • the proposed solution
    • why it will work and
    • why it is superior than other approaches. Viable approaches to get accurate and timely COVID-19 Vaccination information to one or more of our medically underserved populations.



How You Will be Judged

Participating teams will submit a video pitch no more than 5 minutes in length.  

Judging for this competition will focus solely on the significance of the specific problem the team is trying to overcome and the viability and potential impact of the proposed solution. The production value of the video submission will NOT be a factor in determining finalists or winners.

Judges will consist of representatives from NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and Community Leaders from the region who represent the underserved.

The videos for all proposed solutions will be hosted on the IHI website for viewing. Finalists will compete during a live a virtual pitch competition open to the public.



Prizes consist in:

  • $2,000 – First place student team
  • $1,000 – Second place student team
  • $500 – Third place student team
  • $250 – All student team finalists

All entries are due in by April 20th at 5 PM. Finalists will be named on the 23rd.

Questions? Email Valerie Hardcastle: