J.J. had the honor of being selected to represent Urban Pastoral as both a Social Impact Lab Speaker and an Innovation Prize finalist at the Unite for Sight, Global Health & Innovation Conference this past weekend. The 12th annual conference, hosted at Yale University, brought together thought leaders in Medicine, Healthcare Innovation, Public Policy, International Development, and Social Entrepreneurship, from across the globe to engage in an interactive open dialogue with over 800 participants. The conference began primarily as a medical themed forum 12 years ago, and has evolved into an expansive discussion that explores the social determinants of health through many different lens.
Healthcare innovation was a prominent topic throughout the conference, but one could not help but notice that themes of tied to agriculture, nutrition, and environmental sustainability seemed to permeate through every discussion. There was a shift from surgical techniques, and advanced technology to preventative care and human centered design.
J.J. began the first day of the conference delivering a talk on the importance of urban food production. On his panel was Joe Whinney, Founder & CEO of Seattle Based fair-trade chocolate company, Theo Chocolate, and Rodney North, spokesperson for Equal Exchange, a worker owned co-operative dedicated to conducting fair-trade business around the globe.
This year, Unite for Sight launched the GHIC Innovation Prize to award social innovators $15,000 in grants to help facilitate an impact project. Over 200 applicants went through multi-rounds of submissions, until the competition was paired down to 22 semi-finalists, who have to deliver a 2-minute pitch in front of industry judges and over 350 conference participants. Our pitch was 1 of 6 selected to move on to the finalist round, where J.J. engaged in a 5-minute presentation and 20 minutes of questions with judges and audience members. The prize was one by Yale'13 Alumna Lucy Topaloff for her concept MiracleFeet, which created a low-cost solution to treating clubbed foot disorder. Although, Urban Pastoral did not walk away with the prize, it was a tremendous honor to share our company, and interact with such bright social entrepreneurs.