News Release
Posted by The Molina Cares Accord

The MolinaCares Accord Announces Winners of UCLA’s Health Equity Challenge

MolinaCares’ $125,000 Grant Helps UCLA Grad Students Develop Health Equity Solutions


Media Contacts:
Caroline Zubieta | 562-951-1588

Roger Salazar 916-284-1255

LOS ANGELES –  July 1, 2022The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of California (“Molina”), and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) this week announced the winners in the inaugural Health Equity Challenge, a competition that provides UCLA graduate students the opportunity to respond to a health equity issue in California.

MolinaCares partnered with UCLA CHPR and provided a $125,000 grant to engage a diverse group of interdisciplinary students in developing solutions to California’s most pressing health equity concerns. Winners were selected by a five-member Independent Review Committee of leading California health care and equity leaders.

The winners, Angelica Johnsen, candidate for Doctor of Medicine, Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program and Alma Lopez, candidate for Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Policy dual degree, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, turned their ideas into full proposals that community-based organizations can implement.

The winning projects focused on a de-escalation toolkit for medical providers working with patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis (Johnsen); and an intervention program aimed at improving the quality of maternal mental health care for mothers of color in South Los Angeles (Lopez). Two community organizations will be awarded $50,000 each to implement the proposed projects. Johnsen and Lopez identified Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and SHIELDS for Families, respectively, to partner with to implement their unique proposals. The two winners will also receive an additional $2,500 to continue to document the impact of their project’s implementation.

MolinaCares’ grant for UCLA’s Health Equity Challenge is part of the MolinaCares California Equity and Accessibility Initiative, a $2 million effort launched in 2021 to advance health equity throughout the state.

“MolinaCares congratulates the winners and is thrilled to partner with UCLA in selecting this talented set of future health care leaders as they design innovations to reduce health disparities in communities throughout Los Angeles,” said Carolyn Ingram, executive director of The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation.

MOLINA/UCLA HEALTH EQUITY CHALLENGE WINNERS

Angelica Johnsen

Doctor of Medicine, Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program

Project: Develop a de-escalation toolkit for medical providers working with patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis, providing guidance on de-escalating high-acuity mental health crises and stabilizing patients who are in distress, without correctional measures, such as incarceration, chemical, or physical restraints.

Mentor: Dr. O. Kenrik Duru, MD, Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Alma Lopez

Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Policy dual degree, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Project: Work with community clinics to address gaps and disparities in maternal mental health, including developing a series of workshops for pregnant and recently pregnant women for education on peripartum mental health and recognition of symptoms.

Mentor: Dr. Michael Ong, MD, PhD, Professor in Residence of Medicine and Health Policy and Management, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

“We asked UCLA graduate students for ideas to improve health equity in California and they really delivered,” said Kathryn Kietzman, PhD, project lead and director of the UCLA CHPR Health Equity Program. “There were so many impressive submissions showing true innovation, passion, and leadership. These proposals all have the potential to have a tangible impact on communities who face significant inequities.”

“As an aspiring OBGYN, I am interested in addressing disparities that lead to maternal morbidity and mortality, including maternal mental health conditions which disproportionately affect systemically marginalized groups,” said Alma Lopez, a Health Equity Challenge winner and MD and Master of Public Policy dual degree student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “I hope that through the Health Equity Challenge, we can help address maternal mental health inequities among Los Angeles communities of color and low socioeconomic status, and bridge access gaps to compassionate quality care.”

Ten student finalists were awarded $2,500 and were paired with a mentor to develop a full project proposal over the past 10 weeks.

Visit the Health Equity Challenge website to learn more about the winners and the finalists.

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About The MolinaCares Accord:

Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that improve health, life, and living in local communities. The MolinaCares Accord funds such measures through The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) established in 2020 by Molina Healthcare, Inc.

About Molina Healthcare of California

Molina Healthcare of California has been providing government-funded care for over 40 years. The Company serves members through Medi-Cal, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid (Duals) and Covered California (Marketplace). Molina’s service areas include Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Orange County, and Imperial counties. Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, served approximately 5.1 million members as of March 31, 2022. For more information about Molina Healthcare of California, visit MolinaHealthcare.com.

About the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. UCLA CHPR improves the public’s health through high quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that informs effective policymaking. UCLA CHPR is the home of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and is part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. For more information, visit healthpolicy.ucla.edu.