Grapevine Health Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D


Grapevine Health has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $256,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on mechanisms to provide underserved Medicaid patients with accurate and culturally relevant health information and health system navigation support outside the standard healthcare setting through HealthText.

In Phase I, Grapevine Health will develop a culturally appropriate, text-based, digital platform, HealthText, designed exclusively for Medicaid beneficiaries and underserved populations who have largely been omitted from digital health innovation. The R&D work will examine the receptiveness of these populations to soliciting and receiving health information support using text messaging and will explore patient engagement with an SMS-based healthcare navigator. An analysis of speech and content patterns from the data collected will inform the relevant design of and content for the HealthText digital tool. This R&D extends the impact Grapevine Health has already made on developing and expanding health literacy and patient engagement efforts through delivery of trusted, credible, community-focused health information content.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

Grapevine Health CEO Lisa Fitzpatrick, a physician and CDC-trained medical epidemiologist, believes enabling and expanding access to digital tools like two-way text messaging for Medicaid patients is the gateway to improving health outcomes and reducing avoidable healthcare spending . “Our research in underserved communities has revealed the extent to which Medicaid patients crave access to trusted, situational and relatable health information on their terms. Providing access to a text-based healthcare navigation resource can transform the way they think about healthcare access, which can ultimately save health systems and insurers hundreds of millions annually.”

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II funding are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will know within one month if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program , also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:



About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs:
America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About Grapevine Health:
Grapevine Health is a data-driven health media company combining technology, in-person connection and digital media to educate and engage underserved communities in their health through relatable, culturally appropriate multi-media content. Our mission is to provide credible health information for underserved communities to build trust in medical and science communities and to enable them to improve their quality of life by taking control of their own health and engaging in prevention and wellness.

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