Loyola University Chicago and MATTER announce 2022 Loyola Chicago Health Equity Quest winners
Parcel Health takes home grand prize of $35K with sustainable medication packaging solution
November 9, 2022, CHICAGO — Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health and MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, have selected Parcel Health, a women-founded medication packaging startup, as the winner of the 2022 Loyola Chicago Health Equity Quest.
From developing more sustainable products and processes to providing care to those affected by climate change, the U.S. healthcare system plays a vital role in accelerating progress to combat climate change. In an effort to bring innovators across industries and disciplines together to make health delivery more sustainable and reduce or treat the health effects of climate change, Loyola and MATTER launched the 2022 Loyola Chicago Health Equity Quest in August 2022.
“Through this program, we have learned that Loyola Chicago is among the forefront of the intersection of health equity and climate change in the U.S.,” said Elaine Morrato, DrPH, MPH, CPH, founding dean and professor of Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health. “We purposefully challenged innovators from across industries to shine a light on the need for innovation in this space, and we close out this program optimistic for the future and the progress that will continue to be made.”
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Parkinson on the Loyola Chicago Health Equity Quest,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “At the final pitch day, we heard from eight entrepreneurs with cutting-edge innovations that lie at the cross-section of health equity and climate change. We look forward to helping the three winners continue to advance their solutions.”
From the pool of applicants, Loyola and MATTER selected eight finalists to participate in the final pitch day that took place on October 27, 2022, at MATTER, and featured a fireside chat with Alicia Ponce, an architect focused on sustainability and designing healthy environments and an entrepreneur herself. After each finalist pitched their innovation to a panel of industry experts, the judges deliberated and named Parcel Health the grand prize winner of $35,000, with StormSensor winning $25,000 as first runner-up and Aruna Revolution Health winning $15,000 as second runner-up. All three winners have received a six-month MATTER membership to continue to build their businesses and advance their solutions.
“It is rare to see programming that prioritizes both sustainability and health equity, so we were naturally ecstatic when we first heard about this competition,” said Melinda Lee, co-founder and CEO of Parcel Health. “We had a great time pitching to the judges, meeting faculty from Loyola University, learning from the team at MATTER and of course, being inspired by the work of other finalists. As a startup working at the intersection of health and sustainability, winning this recognition means a lot to us. The cherry on top is the prize money that will help us grow our distribution to more pharmacies and conduct additional surveys with older adults.”
Watch each startup pitch their solution and learn more about the winners below:
Grand prize winner – $35,000
Parcel Health is led by two female founders on a mission to replace plastic packaging in the healthcare system. Their flagship product, the Phill Box, is a fully recyclable and compostable medication packaging to replace orange pill bottles. It is currently available in 22 pharmacies across 12 states and coming to a pharmacy near you.
Runner-up – $25,000
StormSensor works with cities and agencies to map how water moves through sewer, storm and coastal systems, and they tie that movement to socioeconomic, climate and weather conditions. Their customers use this information to (1) prioritize climate-related flood (and heat) risk based on physical and socioeconomic factors, (2) respond to flood events, either with advance notifications and/or with real-time flood alerts and (3) adapt critical infrastructure to manage climate-related risks.
Second runner-up – $15,000
Aruna Revolution Health
Aruna revolutionizes menstrual health management by creating compostable menstrual pads out of food and crop waste that are affordable, inclusive and sustainable. Their biocircular economy model redirects food and crop waste from the landfill into their patent-pending process to turn into compostable pads, which are not only biodegradable but can also be turned into useful compost. This will not only prevent billions of menstrual pads from ending up in the landfill and turning into microplastics but will also prevent the harmful decomposition of millions of tonnes of food waste into greenhouse gases in the landfill.
At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 700 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.
About Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health
Loyola University Chicago launched the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health in Fall 2019 to educate the health entrepreneurs of the future and impact health care accessibility and equity nationally. The Parkinson School offers 19 degree programs and three certificate and internship programs in four areas of study: Public Health Sciences, Healthcare Administration, Health Informatics and Data Science, and Applied Health Sciences. The School builds on the foundations of Loyola’s nationally recognized Stritch School of Medicine and its Biomedical Programs, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, and Loyola’s partnership with Trinity Health (known in the Chicago area as Loyola Medicine). To learn more about the Parkinson School, visit LUC.edu/Parkinson or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaParkinson or Instagram via @luc.parkinson.