The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NASA, the U.S. Department of State, and NIKE, Inc. have partnered on a unique initiative called LAUNCH. The idea behind LAUNCH is to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to humanity’s sustainability challenges through a series of forums, each focused on a specific sustainability challenge. The second event in the LAUNCH series, LAUNCH: Health, will focus specifically on health issues related to the first 20 years of life.

“USAID is excited to team up with NASA, NIKE and the Department of State for this unique forum,” said Alex Dehgan, Director of USAID’s Office of Science and Technology. “We see LAUNCH as a great opportunity to support innovators and entrepreneurs who are helping provide sustainable solutions to today’s biggest development challenges.”

The LAUNCH forums focus on key sustainability challenges our planet and society face including water, health, energy and air. LAUNCH: Health, will bring together entrepreneurs from around the world who will be selected based on their innovative approaches to addressing health issues. During the two-and-a-half day forum, the winners will discuss their proposed solutions to health issues with ‘council members’ who represent business, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability sectors. The sessions are designed to identify challenges and discuss future opportunities for the entrepreneurs’ innovations.

LAUNCH: Health is seeking transformative innovations to improve health and quality of life on Earth – both in the developed and developing world – specifically in the first 20 years of life, in the following categories:

– Nutrition and food
– Physical activity
– Preventive health care

People can submit their ideas through the InnoCentive website, which allows hundreds of thousands of problem solvers throughout the world to collaborate on the posted challenges. Innovators can submit their health related proposals via the LAUNCH Health challenge at:

Proposals will be accepted until September 13, 2010 when the challenge will close and the winners will be selected.

Those who are selected will be invited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Oct. 30-31 where the LAUNCH: Health forum will take place.

“NASA’s interest in technology development and problem solving in the area of human health issues makes hosting this discussion among innovators and thought leaders a natural fit,” said NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. “Solutions to health issues here on Earth have the potential to benefit space explorers of the future as well as humankind overall.”

Journalists are invited to attend the two-day forum. In addition to regular Kennedy Space Center media credentials, reporters must register in advance. To RSVP, reporters should contact David Steitz at 202-358-1730 or by Sept. 24.

To learn more about LAUNCH, visit:

For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, please visit: .

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

For more information about the U.S. Department of State, visit

For more information about NIKE, visit