The Seattle Health Innovators Forum held its Holiday Party and Awards Night December 9, 2015 at the SURF Incubator in the Wells Fargo Center, attended by about 70 participants. This event brought a festive conclusion to an eventful year in the health innovation community in Western Washington. The community of innovators here is local but the innovations we are working on are often global in scale.
The Seattle Health Innovators Forum began in May of 2013, growing from a hotbed of health startups in and around Seattle. Its leadership consists of committees of volunteers who organize an average of 6 forums a year and other projects. Our 2015 forums included topics such as telehealth, the health regulatory climate, population health, precision medicine, measuring the impact of Seattle’s health innovation economy, and the Health Innovators Awards Night. Our membership of nearly 1000 people includes healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, product developers, freelancers, and others interested in the transformation of health and health care.
The 2015 Health Innovator of the Year Awards Program
2015 is the first year for this program. We announced a “Call for Nominations” in November aimed at grass-roots innovators, individuals who are active within startups, non-profits, payers, and health institutions. We identified 4 attributes of successful innovation: Imagination, Customer-centeredness, Perseverance, and Collaboration.
We received a strong response to the call, with over 35 nomination forms received in less than 4 weeks for a panel of high-quality nominees. We convened an team of respected health innovation professionals to review the nomination forms and select two awardees for each category.
Awardees for the Imagination Category
The Health Innovators of the Year for the Imagination category were awarded to Jeremy Stone, MD and Swatee Surve.
Jeremy Stone MD, MBA
Dr. Jeremy Stone is a Seattle-based physician entrepreneur with deep experience in the financial sector. He is pioneering a new approach to financing healthcare improvements, such as processes to improve post-operative wound care. He has applied a financial instrument, a performance based bond, to the healthcare sector. These “Health Innovation Bonds” can be used to securitize health outcomes. He has assembled a unique team and global advisors for this innovation. Dr. Stone was in London during the Awards ceremony and was represented by Mark Gardiner to receive the award.
Swatee Surve, MBA
Swatee Surve is the Founder and CEO of Litesprite. This is an innovative approach to mental health using games to kindly teach people skills that they can use to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. Swatee also organized the recent Healthcare track of the Seattle Startup Week, the first time such a track has been part of this annual tradition. Swatee is a frequent panelist on such topics as behavioral health and women in technology leadership, and holds several patents on the disposition of electric currents on fibers and other materials.
Awardees for the Customer-centered Category
Our emphasis in the Customer-Centered category was for people who develop deep relationships with their customers so that they can understand their problems and develop predictive insights as to what their needs are. The Health Innovators of the Year for the Customer Centered category were awarded to Houda Hashad and J.W. Beard MD.
Houda Hachad, PharmD
Houda Hachad is the Chief Science Officer at Translational Software, whose customers are clinical labs who do pharmacogenomic ((PGx) testing. One of her nominators is a customer who said this of her: “Her deep knowledge of not only the clinical aspects of PGx testing, but also the molecular underpinnings of the assays was paramount in guiding our efforts. It is very rare in our business that one can find an individual who has mastered both aspects pertaining to molecular medicine. Furthermore, her understanding of which molecular markers were on the horizon in terms of clinical utility allowed us to shape our existing menu and plan for future tests. Houda’s expertise in pharmacogenetics and pharmacology is complimented by her ability to clearly communicate the important issues pertaining to these complex fields and eloquently answer difficult questions. From a customer support perspective, she has always made herself available at critical moments, to the point where we consider her as an extended team member.”
J.W. Beard, MD
JW Beard MD is a practicing Anesthesiologist and is the Founder and CEO of Monitor Mask Inc. As an anesthesiologist he knows first-hand about frustrations of others in his field when having to jerry-rig 20M basic oxygen face masks to provide a means for sampling the patients’ exhaled CO2 during sedation anesthesia. This vital measurement is mandated by the Standards of Care in the USA, Canada and UK but the market has simply not provided a suitable solution. He designed, tested, patented, and has successfully brought to market a new face mask for this important measurement, It is currently marketed as the CapnoVue M1 face mask.
Awardees for the Collaboration Category
Our emphasis for the Collaboration category this year was inter-organizational collaboration. One of the reasons health innovation is so difficult is that it takes innovators working within established organizations to reach out across organizational boundaries to solve important health problems. The 2015 Health Innovators of the Year for the Collaboration category were awarded to Col. David McCune MD and to Steven Friend, MD PhD.
Col David McCune, MD
Col. David McCune MD is a research consultant with the Western Region Medical Command (WRMC) with the US Army. He has been an effective spokesperson to increase public awareness of the Army’s clinical research program. He is focused on the quantity and quality of clinical trials which advance the health of US soldiers, spouses, dependents, and retirees. In 2015 Dr. McCune has appeared at multiple forums by the Washington Biotechnical and Biomedical Association and the Cambia Grove to inform the health innovation community of the research needs of these populations. He then followed up to help connect selected innovative Seattle area health startups with related research opportunities.
Steven Friend, MD PhD
Steven Friend MD PhD the founder of Sage Bionetworks, a Seattle-based non-profit organization founded in 2009, that provides the tools and environment to conduct dynamic, large-scale biomedical research transparently and collaboratively. In 2015 he led an effort to create an open ecosystem for health data acquired via mobile apps. Working jointly with Apple and Sage, Stephen led efforts that resulted in the open-source Research Kit (Apple) and Bridge / Synapse (Sage) technology platforms, and in the launch of an initial set of 5 Research Kit apps in Parkinson Disease (Sage), Breast Cancer (Sage), Asthma (Mt Sinai School of Medicine), Diabetes (Mass General Hospital), and Cardiovascular Disease (Stanford). As part of this effort, Stephen worked to coordinate a diverse set of collaborators across a variety of organizations, often putting the interests of other organizations ahead of his own. Dr. Friend was unable to attend the Awards night due to illness and was represented by Mike Kellen PhD, from Sage Bionetworks.
Awardees for the Perseverance Category
Innovating in the health industry is not for the impatient. It takes years to develop a solution and bring it to market. Entrepreneurs and other innovators in this sector must learn to deal with both successes and failures, technical and financial hardships, and the ups and downs from working through complex organizations. Some manage to do this with grace and as a result produce high quality output over time.The Health Innovators of the Year for the Perseverance category were awarded to Brandon Masterson and Mary Fenske.
Brandon Masterson is the Founder and CEO of 2Morrow Inc, a mobile health company offering behavior change programs for such conditions as smoking cessation and the creation of healthy habits. Founded in 2011, Brandon and his co-founder Jo Masterson mortgaged their home to self-fund this project for several years while they developed initial customers, won the Surgeon Generals design competition, and collaborated on the smoking cessation program with scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Institute. Brandon has the ability to take on complex problems that seem too hard, and break them into small chunks. This skill has been extremely useful during the startup phase of 2Morrow when challenges are common and resources are limited. It is easy to get discouraged. This makes Brandon an effective startup leader in the mHealth space, where the fast-moving tech industry meets the slower moving, more conservative healthcare industry. His general advice to others, and his company’s credo, is to have “big ears, thick skin and an open mind.”
Mary Fenske is the Founder of Posture Wings, a garment designed to place the body in good posture position with freedom of movement. This changes the biomechanics that can result in neck and shoulder pain. She designed, tested, patented this innovative garment and has persevered for 8 years to bring it to market. In 2006 she started work on this, was awarded a utility patent in 2011, She’s had lots of near-wins with licensing agreements and has continued to move forward despite these setbacks. She believes there remains a void in today’s market, even with the boom in wearable technology and continues to work towards a distribution deal through large scale retail and marketing organizations.
The Evaluation Committee for this year’s Health Innovators of the Year Awards worked through the weekend and into Tuesday evening to finalize the selection process. In the course of reviewing individual nomination forms a consensus grew around two nominees whose work in health innovation deserved an honorable mention for their fresh and creative approaches as, for lack of a better term, “Up-and-Comers”. These individuals are Corinne Pascale Stroum and Melissa DeCapua.
Corinne Pascale Stroum
Corinne is a Senior Program Manager at Caradigm on the Health Care Analytics Team. She is also the Founder of Oy, My Genes!, an innovative way for people to learn of disease risks discoverable through the 23andMe genetic test. When the FDA shut down 23andMe’s service to provide this information to consumers back in November 2013, Corinne developed and brought to market a website that allowed consumers with 23andMe credentials to submit them through her service so that consumers could still learn their risk factors for certain conditions relevant to Ashkenazi Jews. She is an active inventor and we expect to hear more from her in the coming years.
Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP
Dr. Melissa DeCapua is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. Her background includes child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychosomatic medicine. Her nominator said of her “In February, she published a prophetic article describing seven novel ways that the Microsoft Hololens will transform healthcare from nursing education to disaster training. The article quickly caught fire on social media, pushing people to rethink the role of both patient and clinician in a future world where holographic technology more seamlessly bridges the gap to recovery. In March, she joined Seattle-based startup MedBridge as Healthcare Strategist and has since led a new product vision that combines patient data visualizations and educational interventions to improve patient outcomes. Melissa has served as Advisor for yet another fast-growing startup, Point Nurse. Melissa has done all of this and more while earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice in June and is continuing to be an active voice for healthcare reform through her Modern Nurse blog and guest posts on high-profile platforms like Microsoft in Health“.
The Making of “Seattle Health Innovators Holiday Party and Awards Night”
The event was made possible by a team of volunteers who have been working steadily to build a more supportive health innovation community in the Seattle area for the past few years.
A weekend strategy session in September 2015 was held with about 10 members of the program and research committees to plan future events and set goals for 2016.
Among the ideas to emerge from this session was to launch a Health Innovation Awards night. It would be based on a call for nominations from the community. Key themes were the need to broaden our scope to include projects connecting consumers, investors, and building partnerships. The Awards Program was conceived as a way to stimulate our audience beyond the forums, and to serve as a catalyst for developing deeper connections among the community members, Volunteering to head the effort to organize a Holiday Party and Awards Night was Chelsea Steinborn.
Chelsea served as the project manager for the event and as the master of ceremonies. Chelsea is a biomedical engineer, a recent UW Masters in Health Administration graduate, and is now a project manager with the Virginia Mason Research Institute. She played a leadership role in organizing three of our Health Innovation Forums in 2015. Joining Chelsea on the planning team for the Holiday Party were Grace Agustin, Ed Butler, and Kathryn Brown.
Grace Agustin is a Laboratory Information System manager at UW Medicine/Northwest Hospital and is active in Women in Bio and other community groups as well as the Seattle Health Innovators. She has provided support to many of our events. She was invited to join the Health Innovators program committee in 2015.
The 2015 Awards Evaluation Team
A team of experienced and impartial evaluators was formed to review the 2015 nominations. The following profiles provide a glimpse into the background of those who made the difficult evaluations leading to the 2015 awards. Each of the individuals on this team abstained from nominator and nominee roles for this year’s these awards.
Kathryn Brown, PharmD
Kathy Brown was an early and consistent member of the Seattle Health Innovators leadership group. She is a former VP of Pharmacy at Group Health, and is currently a Director of Pharmacy and Integrated Health at Premera and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. She, along with Scott Kennedy organized the successful Population Health Management Forum in June 1015.
Ed Butler is the co-founder and CEO of Videris Health, a company focused on the needs of cancer patients. He is also is the founder of Agate Point. Ed, along with Jessica Chao, organized the Seattle Heatlh Innovation Forum meetup group in May 2013. Ed was formerly a senior product strategy manager at GE Healthcare, product strategy director and principal engineer at IDX Systems, and a former CIO for the Virginia Medicaid Program.
Brady Ryan is a Commercialization Manager for the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. Formerly he was a project manager for the WINGS angel investment group that focuses on the health and life sciences sector. Brady has been active in the Seattle Health Innovators since the summer of 2013 and has helped build bridges across the life sciences and health IT communities.
Scott Kennedy, CPA, CHFP
Scott Kennedy is a founding member of the Seattle Health Innovators and has been a consistent participant and member of the leadership team. Formerly an associate director of Finance with Group Health for 19 years, Scott now serves as Controller at the Polyclinic. Scott is also active in the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Scott and Kathy Brown organized the Seattle Health Innovators Population Health Management Forum last June.
Kristin Helps, RN
Kristin Helps is an active post anesthesia care nurse and regularly works shifts at several of Seattle’s hospitals while she completes her MS in Clinical Informatics from the UW. There she is doing research for user adoption of a mobile post surgery wound evaluation app. She is a clinical consultant with Wellpepper, a Seattle-based digital health startup. Kristin was elected to the UW graduate school student government representing 15,000 students in 2014.
John Foy, MD, PhD
John Foy is an independent senior level medical informatics consultant. His career in Medicine and Computer Science reaches back to the 1970s at NIH in the early days of electronic medical records. Dr. Foy has had an active role in the development of medical informatics over several decades especially as it pertains to electronic medical record systems. He was a director at IDX Systems (formerly PHAMIS) and continued as a senior product strategy manager upon the acquisition of IDX by GE in 2006 in such areas as critical care, clinical documentation, computerized physician order entry, and others. He was a founding member of the Seattle Health Innovation Forum in 2013 and has been a consistent participant and advisor ever since.
Also assisting in the Holiday Party event logistics were Eric Jain, Jo Masterson, Brian Crouch, and other volunteers. Thanks to Seaton and Candace Gras for their flexible terms in making the SURF venue available to this community. SURF has been a continuing supporter of this community since 2013.
Houda Hachad and JW Beard receive awards for the Customer Closeness category from Chelsea Steinborn.
Col. David McCune MD receives the Health Innovator of the Year Award for the Collaboration category, followed by Mike Kellen, PhD, nominator and representative of Steven Friend MD PhD.
Swatee Surve accepts Health Innovator of the Year Award for Imagination.
Brandon Masterson, explains how it’s done.
John Foy, on behalf of the evaluation team, surprises Ed Butler with a certificate recognizing his contributions to the Seattle Health Innovation Forum.
Pictured above, from left, are Mark Gardiner, accepting on behalf of Jeremy Stone MD, Brandon Masterson, Col David McCune MD, Mary Fenske, Swatee Surve, Houda Hachad PharmD, JW Beard MD, Mike Kellen PhD, on behalf of Steven Friend MD PhD, and Ed Butler, recognized for contributions to the growth of this forum.