Talking About My (Innovation) Generation: Dr. Roberta Ness on How to Be an Innovator

Janice Lynch Schuster

Raymond Carver once titled a collection of short fiction, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Indeed, when it comes to that emotion, we talk as if we all meant the same thing, yet we seldom do.

The same is true when we talk about innovation, a buzzword in business, industry, medicine, and government. We toss it around, and are all eager to have innovation everywhere. But what do we really mean? And why does it matter?

Fostering innovation matters, says Roberta Ness, MD, MPH, if we are to solve (and survive) major public health threats of our time: climate change, obesity, infectious disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and health disparities. And defining the term is important to knowing what it is we mean. Ness says that one common definition, that innovation is creativity with a use, proves to be problematic. (more…)

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Alexa Café: iD Tech’s First All-Girls Summer Camp

As a Regional Manager at iD Tech, the world’s #1 summer tech program for kids and teens, I often find myself very proud of the work that our company does.  For example, we inspire thousands of kids every year to Do Something Big in the world of tech, with over 170,000 students enrolled during the past 16 years.  Oh, and then there’s the thousands of trees we plant each year through our One Camper, One Tree initiative. We’ve already sowed the seeds for 75,000 trees and expect to plant 35,000 more in 2014 alone! (more…)

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Man of the Month Revisited: Dr. William Cohn

Photo Courtesy of Houstonian Magazine

Last week, we honored medical heart technologist, surgeon, and  innovator Dr. William Cohn as our man of the month. This week, he sat down with us to chat a bit  more about what he has been up to and new advances in the field of medical innovation.

How did you become interested in the intersection of technology and health care?

I’ve always been attracted to the vibe of heart surgery. It seems like the ultimate gig: it combines my passion for innovation and working in health. Growing up in Houston, I had an older brother who was very brilliant and into science. In our garage, we had a lab set up, where we made explosives, lasers, (more…)

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What’s the Opp for WhatsApp?

Cyndy NayerThe headlines are promoting the Facebook buyout of #WhatsApp, the $19billion purchase by Mark Zuckerberg, who says he is “not sure” what Facebook will do with it. But several opportunities become quite clear if we step back from the deal and consider what texting can bring to the data marketplace.

First, let’s understand what WhatsApp is.  The press sums up the application like this:  ”The international messaging service [is] a cross-platform mobile messaging company boasting over 450 million users per month.”  Remember that text messaging is typically done on mobile phones and that service carrier (Verizon, Sprint, ATT)  fees apply.  Skype and VOIP users can avoid these fees, but, to date, “global” use of these technologies has not reached seismic proportions.  Further, it’s more challenging to post videos and high-density digital images through text, Skype or VOIP–usually there is a connection to shared internet platforms (Cisco, etc) that enable the real-time sharing, or there’s Google, iCloud, Dropbox and other sharing file-sharing platforms that can be used. (more…)

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A Disruptive Conversation with the Co-founders of Personal Medicine Plus

HODGE_PHONE_SCREENSHOT8_white (3)

We love stories about women that are truly changing the face of health care, particularly through innovation. Today is no exception. We recently sat down with Co-founders Natalie Hodge, MD and Brandi Harless, MPH of Personal Medicine Plus, an app that allows individuals to self-manage health through behavior tracking and health data metrics. Both Hodge and Harless shared their experience in developing their tool, being a woman innovation leader, and a few words of wisdom and inspiration to other women interested in following their goals. Check it out below.

What drew you to health innovation technology?

NH: My first passion was in medicine. I always had a deep interest in people and solving problems, so naturally that fits well with a career in medicine.  The interesting thing is that the problems of my early career have largely been solved by vaccines.  And in the 15 years we spent diagnosing disease, the obesity epidemic floated to the top. That’s when the opportunity for me to marry medicine and innovation arose.

BH: After studying global health at Boston University and working on health issues in Kenya, Haiti and Sierra Leone, I accidentally moved back to my hometown in rural Kentucky.  Not knowing if I would stay around, I started working with HIV patients and getting involved in the health of the local community.  After leading a local health clinic for a while, I realized the extreme need to help rural patients turn back their lifestyle illnesses.  When Natalie approached me to work on this startup that would do exactly that, I WAS IN!  (more…)

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Leukemia: How My Brother Became My Twin

Before leukemia

When you hear the word “cancer” what comes to mind? Before October 2012 I thought the only people who got cancer were those who didn’t exercise, ate poorly, smoked too much, drank in excess, and were either very young or very old. Now think about the word “leukemia.” What do you picture? I see Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Any logical person knows cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, culture, and lifestyle. But it wasn’t until my brother- former Israeli Defense Forces First Sergeant, marathon runner, vegetarian, sometimes-smoker but otherwise one of the healthiest people I know- was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in October 2012 that my extraordinary misconceptions were thrown harshly in my face. (more…)

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December 2013 Man of the Month: Ramin Bastani

Ramin BastaniSyphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and HIV: diseases transmitted predominately through the exchange of fluids during sexual contact. While statistics show that nearly half of all sexually active adults in the United States will acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD), there remains a stigma concerning conversations on sexual health.

‪Ramin Bastani is not afraid to talk about STDs. Branded “The Safest Man To Have Sex With In America” by Forbes recently, Bastani is the founder and CEO of Hula, a next-generation personal health record that makes decisions around STD testing and sexual health easier.  DW interviewed Bastani on the inspiration for the company, the success of his app, the importance of patient access to their health records, and most importantly on how he helps people get laid safely. (more…)

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Jen Hyatt: Woman to Watch 2014

Jen Hyatt

Jen Hyatt

 “[My mom] taught me compassion, integrity and courage; she wanted me to have the opportunities that she never had.” – Jen Hyatt

Raised by a woman who had to start work at the young age of 14, unable to pursue her education or accept a school scholarship, Jen Hyatt has been rooted in her family and the exploration of every opportunity her whole life. As the chief executive officer of Big White Wall, Jen helps others feel supported, safe, and able to achieve their futures. (more…)

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Jeanne Pinder: Woman to Watch 2014

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder

“Timely, accessible, affordable health care is a human right. We have failed to deliver that in this country, and it’s time to fix that.” – Jeanne Pinder

Pursuing the deeper narratives behind health care stories throughout her professional career, Jeanne started as a journalist at the age of 13. Celebrated by Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, as well as the New York Times, the Tow-Knight Foundation, and the McCormick Foundation’s New Media Women Entrepreneur’s Program, Jeanne launched ClearHealthCosts to bring transparency to health care by sharing cost information in a searchable, online platform through crowdsourcing out-of-pocket expenses from patients. (more…)

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Kenda West: Woman to Watch 2014

Kenda West

Kenda West

“Show you’re willing to get in there and start shoveling. Make smart choices, be generous, and be diplomatic – but speak your mind…If you can apply common sense to problems and solve them calmly, you’ll get noticed. I promise.” – Kenda West

Driven by the passion and success of her high school field hockey coach, Kenda West was molded at an early age to have discipline and always dig deep in the pursuit of her goals. Landing in the healthcare IT space just three days after her last exam in college, Kenda first entered healthcare in 1983. This year, Kenda joined Voalte, a company specializing in mobile smartphone applications that caregivers use, as its Chief Operating Officer. (more…)

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Rebecca Mitchell Coelius: Woman to Watch 2014

Rebecca Mitchell Coelius

Rebecca Mitchell Coelius

“Read, travel, and speak to people with a diversity of opinions as often as possible, and, most importantly, never get too invested in seeing a problem from only one angle.” – Rebecca Mitchell Coelius

Treasuring the history of health science and continuously pursuing the next opinion, idea, or discussion, Rebecca Mitchell Coelius first became a physician with the goal of becoming part of the health care industry. Rebecca’s career has taken her through that system, to entrepreneurship, to her current role at the Office of the National Coordinator where now works with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovation centers every day. (more…)

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Sunnie Southern: Woman to Watch 2014

 

Sunnie Southern

Sunnie Southern

  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Viable Synergy LLC 
  • Follow Sunnie on Twitter: @SunnieSouthern

“I don’t believe that anyone can develop leadership or confidence for someone else – it’s about listening and asking questions, helping people find the in courage in themselves to find the answers.” – Sunnie Southern

Driven every day by the self-created vision of “She” – the multi-tasking women of the world seeking information in a more usable format to achieve and do more, Sunnie infuses her energy across health innovation and health technology partnerships. Today, she is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Viable Synergy, a firm built on the belief that people deserve access to the tools and information needed to make better decisions about health, no matter where they are in the world.

(more…)

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Janie Gu: Woman to Watch 2014

Janie Gu

Janie Gu

“Great leaders don’t lead for the sake of leading; they lead because they’re passionate about making something happen and they want to encourage, inspire, and influence others to move with them.” – Janie Gu

Inspired by the great inventors of contemporary times, particularly Elon Musk, Janie Gu has set a path forward into the world of true innovation through creating new products, ideas, and dreams. Currently an undergraduate at Princeton University, Janie leveraged her programming skills to create OUTFluenza, an analytical engine for tracking and predicting influenza, for the Surescripts 2013 Technology Challenge and parts of that project will be featured in the final Surescripts product. (more…)

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Jane Sarasohn-Kahn: Woman to Watch 2014

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

“Because I believe that health is ‘everywhere’ – ‘where we live, work, play and pray’ – it is not difficult for me to stay inspired: I feel blessed to do what I do for my ‘living’ and take inspiration from everything and everyone, every day.”  - Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Inspired by her family and her mother’s work to bring the Salk vaccine to their community during her youth, Jane has a career dedicated to public health and embracing health across every aspect of life and community.  Pursuing entrepreneurship throughout her career, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn authors the pioneering health economics blog, Health Populi, and this year launched the online community, HealthcareDIY, to encourage and inspire self-care among patients, helping with consumer decision-making in health care. (more…)

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Alexandra Drane: Woman to Watch in 2014

Alexandra Drane

Alexandra Drane

  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eliza Corporation.
  • Follow Alex on Twitter: @adrane

This week, DW honors Women to Watch in 2014! For this series, we will highlight women in the fields of technology, health, and science that are truly disrupting the status quo. Check out DW’s own Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin’s interview with Alexandra Drane.

After growing up watching her father leverage technology to entice and revolutionize companies, Alexandra Drane launched into her own career in pursuit of using technology to help people live healthier, happier lives. As her fourth startup, Eliza Corporation does just that – making investments in health engagement management to improve healthcare experiences, reduce costs, and advance population health.

“Remember that it is a gift to be alive and that gift creates an obligation. What are you going to do in this very instant of this very day to be worthy of that gift?” – Alexandra Drane (more…)

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