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Tulane’s FIT Clinic wins J&J Health Equity Innovation Challenge award

June 15, 2022 10:45 AM

Dr. Niyogi founded the Formerly Incarcerated Transitions (FIT) Clinic in 2015. The clinic provides care specifically for people who have been incarcerated because they are at greater risk for some chronic diseases. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


After an extensive search for the top changemakers in six key U.S. cities, Johnson & Johnson announced that Tulane’s Formerly Incarcerated Transitions (FIT) Clinic was one of 14 awardees of its Health Equity Innovation Challenge.

Selected from a pool of more than 180 applicants by an independent judging committee, each awardee is receiving seed funding from a pool of more than $1 million from Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., mentorship from renowned entrepreneurs and public health experts, and access to the Johnson & Johnson - JLABS ecosystem, which includes networking opportunities and more, to advance their innovations. The FIT Clinic is focused on reducing recidivism and improving health outcomes by providing continuity of care and other reintegration resources for formerly incarcerated individuals.

"Locked away and mostly forgotten, incarcerated individuals suffer poorer health outcomes and lasting emotional and psychological trauma," said Anjali Niyogi, founder and director of Formerly Incarcerated Transitions (FIT) Clinic and associate professor of internal medicine & pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine. "The Challenge funds will enable us to equip the justice-involved population with tools for success by increasing access to reentry peer support groups, holistic medical services, and educational materials about community-based health systems."

Finalists of the Health Equity Innovation Challenge were selected by Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and an independent panel of judges, including Uché Blackstock, M.D., Founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity; Helene Gayle, M.D., President and CEO of Chicago Community Trust; Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., University Professor at the University of Connecticut and CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute; Thomas LaVeist, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University; Eddie Martinez, Executive Director of the Latino Equality Alliance; Herman Moore, Owner, CEO and Chairman of Team 84 and former Detroit Lions Wide Receiver; and Kiera Smalls, Co-Founder of Strides and Executive Director of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition. 

"Innovation plays a key role in addressing health inequities, but that innovation doesn't always come from a big company like Johnson & Johnson. The individuals that are living, breathing, and experiencing these inequities know what they are and why they are happening, and they have great ideas for how to solve them," noted Seema Kumar, Global Head, Office of Innovation, Global Health and Scientific Engagement at Johnson & Johnson. "We are incredibly grateful to all of the innovators and the impact they're making for under-resourced communities across the country – from stimulating diversity in science and healthcare, to reducing barriers to better health outcomes and affordable care – and so much more."