Stepping Up to the Challenge: Preparing the World for the Next Pandemic

The complexity of health care — compounded by a lack of connectivity and collaboration across the system — has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why Optum is proud to be among the 22 founding members of The Trinity Challenge, a global competition aimed at better preparing us for future health challenges.

We are partnering with organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, Imperial College London and Microsoft to help identify and pool resources — minds, technology and data — to proactively confront the next health emergency.

Because future global health crises will not be solved by one industry alone, The Trinity Challenge invites individuals and organizations to build or join Challenge Teams and submit ideas that will help the world better identify, respond to and recover from future health emergencies. The teams are strongly encouraged to collaborate across sectors and make use of advanced analytics that will power new insights, new approaches and novel tools.

The power of partnership to solve challenges

We believe in the power of partnership. At Optum, we already engage with nine out of 10 U.S. hospitals, support four out of five U.S. health plans and work with more than 50 global life science companies.

In response to the pandemic, we are leveraging these partnerships and forging new ones across academia and the public and private sectors. Together, we’ve studied COVID-19 treatments, distributed CARES Act relief funds, built ventilators and helped people return safely to the workplace.

Each of these efforts is grounded in our ability to share data and act collaboratively across sectors. Our hope is that The Trinity Challenge advances the way health systems and global entities will use, integrate and analyze data to create a playbook that helps us all better predict and respond to emerging health crises.

An opportunity to help vulnerable populations

The overall purpose of The Trinity Challenge is to strengthen humanity’s ability to predict, prevent and respond to — as well as to mitigate the negative impacts of — outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics. We are excited to work with the Challenge Teams to take all that we are learning today and turn this knowledge into an incredible opportunity to advance global health, especially among our most vulnerable citizens.

Optum team members share a strong sense of urgency to address global health inequities. We believe every person should have an equal opportunity to live his or her healthiest life, and we look forward to collaborating through The Trinity Challenge and lending our vast assets — data, people, experience and more — to improve the well-being of people in communities around the world.

How The Trinity Challenge works

The Trinity Challenge, organized by Dame Sally Davies, master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, will award a total of £10 million (~$13.6M) in funding across winning Challenge Team proposals. Applicants can seek support from challenge members — like privileged access to data, tools, expertise and more — through a collaborative application or can apply independently.

Final project submissions are due by April 15, 2021 for review by an independent judging panel. You can read more about how the Challenge works here.

The panel of judges includes public health experts, public policy professionals and business leaders. Challenge winners will be announced in June 2021. From there, winners will develop, finesse and scale their ideas to create global public goods.

Learn more about the Optum role in The Trinity Challenge, and watch for more updates as the Challenge progresses.

About the author

Dan Schumacher
President, Chief Operating Officer

Dan Schumacher is president and chief operating officer of Optum. In this role, he is responsible for driving Optum enterprise performance overall and directly overseeing OptumInsight, as well as Optum Technology, global operations and enterprise clinical capabilities. Schumacher is also a member of the Office of the Chief Executive for UnitedHealth Group.

Prior to his role at Optum, he served as president and chief operating officer at UnitedHealthcare with oversight responsibility for U.S. and global commercial markets, including the UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual business. He also oversaw the clinical, network, operations and technology groups across all of UnitedHealthcare.

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