Somali Family Service SD: Semifinalist in XPRIZE Competition

Somali Family Service is a Semifinalist in the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Competition

We are proud to share that Somali Family Service of San Diego (2017 Alliance i2 Innovation Challenge Grant winner) is a semifinalist in the international XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Competition.

The XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Competition is a $5 million, 30-month competition to quickly reskill under-resourced workers for the digital revolution. According to the XPRIZE website, “Rapid Reskilling will forever change the future of work. XPRIZE imagines a future in which all workers can rapidly attain new and more relevant skills to their current workplace—and their next one. Novel solutions developed in XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling will uplift the labor market in the U.S. and close the widening skills gap.”

“The SHIFA (Somali Health Initiative for Access) team is so excited to have been selected as semifinalist in the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling Competition to test and implement our SHIFA360 solution to close gaps in the workforce sector by training and reskilling 350 community health workers in four months to provide effective culturally and linguistically appropriate care for underserved communities,” said Najla Ibrahim, MPH, Director of Health and Wellness, Somali Family Service of San Diego. “This project is in great alignment with our Innovative Initiative (i2) funded project, through the support of Alliance Healthcare Foundation, where we created an innovative technology-enabled solution using VR (virtual reality) to address the decline in immunization rates in the refugee and immigrant community. We believe that upskilling community health workers to close the digital gap and leveraging their cultural and linguistic expertise in serving their community will exponentially impact and improve health outcomes.”

Always on the lookout for opportunities to expand their innovation projects, the team at Somali Family Service came across the XPRIZE competition and together developed their winning entry application. The SHIFA team is one of 10 qualified teams selected from 118 applicant teams.

Semifinalists moving forward will be announced Aug-September 2021 and then the SHIFA Team will move on to the next phase of the project. The next phase requires exponential adoption of the SHIFA solution to 5000 individuals in three industries. The competition is a 2-year process with set metrics for each milestone. At the end of each milestone, XPRIZE judges review the teams’ efforts and achieved metrics to determine whether they can move on to the next step in the competition.

Please join us in wishing the SHIFA Team good luck in the competition and with their community health worker reskilling solution!

About the SHIFA Project
Funded by Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s i2 Innovation Award, the SHIFA (Somali Health Initiative for Access) Project represents an innovative virtual reality (VR) approach to image-based learning with the goal of increasing pediatric vaccination rates among East African refugee populations. The VR experience is in alignment with specific cultural and religious norms and it responds to the particular needs of community caregivers and community healthcare providers. It is being created following a systematic, evidence-based methodology involving intimate community engagement, and using the latest research results relating to the benefits of and the hesitancy toward vaccination. Its design is also informed by studies of the behavior and concerns of the communities that were involved in the recent measles outbreaks in the US and in other parts of the world.

About Somali Family Service of San Diego
Somali Family Service of San Diego was established in 2000 as a non-profit, community-based social service organization. Since its inception, the organization has provided culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services to members of the San Diego Somali and other refugee and immigrant communities, easing their transition and ensuring successful functioning in their new home. In San Diego, there is a serious lack of support services for Somali and other East African immigrants and refugees. As an organization staffed by Somali community members, SFS is uniquely positioned to fill this gap in the community to provide services specifically catered to East African refugees.

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