A seed grant program was developed to help community organizations throughout the Americas do the proof of concept for innovative solutions. Often the most essential programs require quick action but the lag inherent in foundation and government grant funding processes makes it difficult to address immediate problems. HAF will fund the Alliance to be proactive in new and emerging priority areas and incubate state-of-the-art programs. A good example of a timely opportunity was in implementation of Medicare Part D. Alliance internal research predicted that with the passage of the legislation there would be a huge need to inform consumers about the new benefits. The Alliance worked to obtain funds to implement a program before the final passage of the legislation. As soon as the legislation passed the Alliance was ready to inform and engage Hispanics on Medicare about the new program. Funding from foundations and government lagged by nearly one year from actual implementation.
A critical component of fostering innovation is the Healthy Americas Institute established by the Alliance at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. There are many areas where information needs to be made available to consumers as there is still a 15 year lag between scientific discovery and bringing findings to the community (bench to the bedside). The Institute's work is profiling community based innovations that are having an impact and programs that bring the promise of science to communities in a timely way. This work allows the HAF to inform the field, policymakers, and philanthropy about innovative solutions and promising areas for investments. The work allows the Alliance to challenge medicine and science to rethink the existing models of health and wellness. Whether it is the Hispanic Paradox or the Obesity Paradox the HAF and the Alliance are at the forefront of working to create new models of health and wellness rather than wrestling with the prior paradigm.