Healthcare innovation

Call for applications: Gelia Castillo Award for…

Call for applications: Gelia Castillo Award for…

PRESS RELEASE: The award is open to all individuals, groups, and institutions that have successfully developed and implemented social innovations in health

This is a press release from the Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health.

The Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health (GCARSIH) is open to ongoing social innovations in health developed by Filipinos for Filipinos. The entry must be implemented in the Philippines.

GCARSIH is a national award that aims to recognize the outstanding social innovations that address persistent, societal, and health systems challenges, and support these innovations for further development through research. 

This award is named after National Scientist Dr. Gelia T. Castillo whose work in the social sciences and community development had a special emphasis on championing the neglected in society.

GCARSIH is presented by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), and the Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with Social Innovation in Health Initiative – Philippines and the Foundation for the Advancement of Clinical Epidemiology, Inc.

For the purposes of this award, social innovations in health (SIH) are defined as new solutions (products, services, models, market mechanisms, processes) created by multi-sectoral health system actors.

The solutions must address a health need more effectively than existing approaches, and have the ability to enhance people’s capacity to act and take ownership of their own health. Social innovations have health-system changing potential as it changes and strengthens relationships between people and results in a more effective use of available resources.

Who can submit an entry?

The award is open to all individuals, groups, and institutions that have successfully developed and implemented social innovations in health in the Philippines. Participating institutions may be:

  • public or private
  • members of the consortium
  • scientific, technological and professional societies or associations
  • research institutes
  • universities and colleges
  • others

Download and complete the Submission Entry Form (available at Submit your entry in person, via courier or via email on or before June 17, 2022.

Prizes and incentives

The top innovations in health will receive a cash prize, eligibility for a research and development grant, and a training and mentoring package with subject matter experts to enable the project to further expand and scale.

The training and mentoring package shall be designed to help the top innovation teams create research proposals for their grants. 

More information about this award is available at

About the previous run

In its inaugural run in 2020, GCARSIH received 53 eligible entries from across the country. The top three innovations presented unique solutions to the specific health needs and challenges they aimed to address.

  • In first place: Holistic Water Systems for Pumping Water Uphill – Recognising that thousands of villages in the Philippines do not have access to potable water because these are topographically situated above existing water sources, this innovation is a hydraulic ram pump model that provides clean and safe water to remote upland communities. Initiated by the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, this innovation has improved the lives of upland villagers in terms of health, nutrition, and sanitation
  • In second place: University of the Philippines Diliman Psychosocial Services (UPD PsycServ) – an innovation in mental health care that addresses increasingly pressing mental health and wellbeing concerns of students, faculty and staff in a systematic, holistic, and caring manner. At the onset of the COVID-19, UPD PsycServ responded to the pressing mental health issues brought about by the pandemic, expanding their services through free telepsychotherapy, workplace psychological processing, culturally sensitive talks, and social messaging on mental health promotion.
  • In third place: Kalinga Health: A Hub-and-Spoke Social Enterprise Model – initiated by Innovations for Community Health in partnership with ACCESS Health International, this is a comprehensive program for tuberculosis care that addresses major gaps in case detection, reporting, quality care, case holding, and affordability. At the core of the model is its sustainability component through health insurance coverage, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status.

As part of the incentives for GCARSIH 2020, winners were given a training package for research proposal writing and eligibility for an implementation research and development grant. –