Seeking Tech Solutions to Improve Social Determinants of Health & Health Equity for Latinx Youth

A group of 70 healthcare leaders and innovators gathered on January 29th in a film production studio in Boyle Heights, an urban neighborhood outside of downtown Los Angeles. They were there for the inaugural Tech for Latinx Health Equity summit, which focused on the impact of immigration on the health of Latinx youth (gender-neutral term for persons of Latin American descent). The summit explored the challenges facing one of the largest and fastest-growing youth populations in the U.S.


About 62% of Latinx youth live in low-income families and are at greater risk for health problems. Even beyond language and cultural barriers, numerous social determinants of health disproportionately affect health outcomes in this population. One of six children in California have at least one undocumented immigrant parent, and the social factor of immigration has significant impacts on the health of children.


In response to these health inequities, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and HIMSS Innovation & Conference Center are partnering to launch a global developer challenge inviting creative social entrepreneurs to develop tech solutions that improve the health of Latinx children and youth. More details follow in this article.


Inspirational summit kickstarts conversation


The Tech for Latinx Health Equity summit was hosted by the CHLA Innovation Studio led by their first-ever Chief Innovation Officer Omkar P. Kulkarni. The CHLA Innovation Studio brings internal and external communities together to incubate and accelerate processes and technologies.


The event focused on health impacts of immigration, namely: increases in anxiety and depression, reduced access to healthcare, and reduced access to social institutions and services.


The day was ripe for innovation, with a creative space for conversation and delicious food supplied by local Latinx-owned catering businesses. The CHLA Innovation Studio coordinated the summit agenda featuring a Latinx spoken word artist on her personal struggles and determination, pecha kucha slide presentations to build awareness (20 slides for 20 seconds each), design thinking workshops, and speakers sharing expertise on the health impact of immigration.


Participants learned about the growing size of the immigrant population in Los Angeles county, the trauma experienced by children in the immigration process, and the fear that deters families from seeking healthcare or social services. The summit also included discussion on the importance of trust and creative technology to bring healthcare to the community.


Developer Challenge launches March 4


CHLA and HIMSS are partnering on a global tech challenge inviting entrants to design solutions for the healthcare impact on Latinx youth in three key areas: mental well-being, access to healthcare, and access to social services.


The challenge runs March 4 – April 26, 2019 with three winners receiving funding prizes over $20,000 total to bring their ideas to life. Winners will be announced in Los Angeles on May 10, 2019. Challenge winners will have the option of utilizing support from the CHLA Innovation Studio, UX designers, developers, and community organizations. Rules and registration will be online for the March 4 challenge launch.