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Marcel Sangsari is a freelance writer who completed his Munk Global Journalism Fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2015.

Social investments for the marginalized take off in North America

By Marcel Sangsari
Acumen’s new U.S. portfolio leads the way

Health is more than health care, according to Healthify, an early-stage social enterprise based in Baltimore that bridges Medicaid patients with critical social services.

The tech company wants to end the causes of negative health that arise outside of clinics. Its software platform gives health care payers, hospitals and providers a tool to search for social services, identify patients’ needs and eligibility for benefits, and coordinate care. Low-income patients get access to housing, nutrition and job search assistance to improve their health and economic stability.

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A different way to R&D

Incentivizing big pharma to tackle the less lucrative diseases.

Pharmaceutical giants have never shied away from the chance to make large profits from the sale of their medicines. But what if there was a way to marry corporate and social goals – to delight shareholders and tackle the most pressing global public health epidemics?

An initiative called the Health Impact Fund (HIF) has its eyes set on making medicines affordable and available to all. Supported by leading health scientists, Nobel-prize winning researchers and even former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin, it proposes a system that incentivizes pharmaceutical companies to research and develop drugs for neglected diseases and provides financial rewards to those that significantly reduce the global burden of disease.

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