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Hofstra health care entrepreneurship challenge winners collect $25,000

Elnaz Sarabchian, winner of Hofstra's Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community

Elnaz Sarabchian, winner of Hofstra's Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, explains her startup, MedAux, on Tuesday. Credit: Hofstra University/Philip Hinds

The winners of Hofstra University's monthslong Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge competition have been announced.

The challenge, which awarded $25,000 in total prize money to three winners, was created to identify startups offering products and services that strengthen the relationship between patients and health care providers in underserved communities on Long Island, in New York City and in the Hudson Valley region. Winners were announced Tuesday following a showcase of more than 22 participants.

MedAux, a startup that uses text messaging software to keep patients and health care teams in communication, received the first place award of $15,000. The chief executive of the Manhattan-based startup is Hofstra doctoral graduate Elnaz Sarabchian.

Playback Health, a startup affiliated with Northwell Health that uses video chat to connect patients and physicians, took second place and $7,500.

Benefit Kitchen, an analytics company that alerts users to unused health benefits, took third place with $2,500 in prize money.

The competition is part of a three-year program at the school and is supported by a $485,000 grant the school received last year from the Regional Innovation Strategies program, a national grant competition tied to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Participants submitted proposals earlier this year

“The program is unique because of the intersection between entrepreneurship and community health,” said Stacey Sikes, dean of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Hofstra. The university intends to host the health care competition again next year. "We’re looking forward to that,” Sikes said.

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