Seattle Health Innovators Awards 2019

Seattle Health Innovators Awards 2019

2019 Awardees (1st Place)

Collaboration, Private Industry

Will Canestaro, Ph.D., WRF Capital

Will is an investment professional who offers encouragement and insightful strategic advice for innovators in our state’s research institutions. He puts inter-organizational boundaries aside to keep focused on solving healthcare’s biggest problems.

Collaboration, Government

Representative Eileen Cody, Washington State Legislature

Representative Cody led the passage of SB 5526, the effort to lower premiums for Washington’s public option health plans. She collaborated extensively with the State Senate, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, the Governor’s Office, and other state agencies.


Nick Fradkin, Washington State Department of Health

Nick runs the tobacco cessation program for the State of Washington. He has been tasked with addressing the vaping epidemic and has championed an app-based program for that target population. Despite very limited resources Nick continues to drive forward with determination and persistence.

Customer Focus

Brad Youngren, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, 98point6

Brad’s credible voice and successful example demonstrate how patient care and technology can combine in a way that drives meaningful healthcare change. His influence and dedication have helped 98point6 achieve significant milestones including 24/7 availability and expansion into all 50 states.


Daniel-Adriano Silva, Ph.D., CoFounder and VP Research, Neoleukin Therapeutics

Daniel is a protein design scientist and co-author of a recent publication in Nature where he and his collaborators describe the process for designing from scratch totally new proteins that mimic the immune benefits of natural cytokines, but with less negative side effects. This invention is the basis of the Neoleukin Therapeutics platform.

Imagination: Honorable Mention

Matthew Tabakin, MD, CEO medsense

In addition to the first-place awardees above, the committee also wanted to recognize Matthew Tabakin, MD, CEO medsense, in the Imagination category. Matthew has taken his keen imagination and ability to follow through and applied it to found medsense, a company focused on medication adherence for patients in senior adult housing and other settings. 

Holiday Party

The awards ceremony was the centerpiece of a festive holiday gathering of our community. We look forward to 2020 and seeing what this community is capable of over the coming months.

Seattle Health Innovators was founded in 2013 as a grassroots meetup. In 2016 we formed an official nonprofit, Health Innovation Northwest. We are here to connect, educate, and innovate together with a common desire for better health outcomes.

2019 Health Innovators of the Year Finalists

On December 12th Health Innovation NW will recognize these ten amazing Finalists for the 2019 Health Innovators of the Year.

To register to go to MeetUp at the following link:

2019 Annual Awards and Holiday Party

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019, 5:00 PM

Cambia Grove
1800 9th Avenue, 2nd floor Seattle, WA

29 Health Innovators Attending

Join us for the 5th Annual Health Innovators of the Year Awards and Holiday Party. CELEBRATE THE HEALTH INNOVATION COMMUNITY. Recognize heroes among us who are making a difference! The design of this grass roots award is to recognize individuals who are exhibiting extraordinary talent in the four attributes that contribute to successful innovation:…

Check out this Meetup →


The design of this grassroots award is to recognize individuals who are exhibiting extraordinary talent in the four attributes that contribute to successful innovation: Collaboration, Customer Focus, Imagination, and Perseverance. The Finalists are as follows:


Eileen Cody, State Representative

Organization: Washington State Legislature
Nominator: Vincent Barrailler & Pam MacEwan

Eileen Cody has been a State Representative for 25 years. As a Nurse Clinician, she has been affiliated with Kaiser Permanente (formerly Group Health Cooperative) for a number of years.

Last April, Rep. Cody (D-West Seattle) led passage of Senate Bill 5526 in the state House of Representatives. This legislation gives Washingtonians purchasing health insurance coverage on the individual market a public option designed to lower the cost of premiums, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses. As the main innovator of this endeavor, Rep. Cody collaborated extensively with the State Senate, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Governor’s Office and other state agencies. The resulting law preserves the gains of the Affordable Care Act and addresses concerns related to affordability and value.

Will Canestaro, PhD

Organization: WRF Capital
Nominator: Terri Butler & Erik Landaas

Dr. Will Canestaro is a Managing Director at Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital. With a doctorate in health economics and outcomes research, Will is an investment professional with a demonstrated history of working in the biotechnology industry.
Will is a valuable catalyst for life science startups in the Pacific Northwest. In his role at WRF, Will is responsible for the Foundation’s investments in Life Science and Biotechnology start-ups where he provides insightful strategic advice and facilitates connections based on his own startup experience. During his PhD. studies at the UW, Will worked extensively with several university spin-outs to help them launch. He always finds time to meet with students and advise them; moreover, connect them to others in his network.

Will has been on the management team for the Institute for Translational Health Sciences, ITHS/WRF Summer Commercialization Fellows program, and teaches the Health Innovation Practicum. He has served on and been a great collaborator on committees and boards for M3 Biotechnology, Faraday Pharmaceuticals, Phase Genomics, Icosavax, One Radio, Life Science Washington Institute, and the ITHS.

Customer Focus

Brad Younggren, MD

Organization: 98point6
Nominator: Julia Scully

Dr. Brad Younggren is the Chief Medical Officer of 98point6, the on-demand virtual clinic. He also serves as an emergency medicine physician and medical director at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland.

Under his guidance, 98point6 strives to deliver the highest level of patient care and experience. Part of this process includes overseeing Standard of Care Guidelines that are consistently reviewed and refined over time, as well as a comprehensive prescription and antibiotic stewardship approach that has enabled one of the lowest prescription rates in the industry. Brad also leads and advises 98point6’s Clinic Quality Assurance Committee, which utilizes data to thoroughly and collaboratively monitor physicians’ adherence to Quadruple Aim standards.

Brad’s influence and dedication to providing a modern primary care experience to as many people as possible has significantly helped 98point6 achieve it’s milestones, including 24/7 availability and licensing a team of doctors in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Brad’s credible voice and successful example demonstrate how patient care and technology can combine in a way that drives meaningful healthcare change.

Michele Mehl

Organization: Excy
Nominator: Mike Rector

Michele Mehl is the founder and CEO of Excy, which has created full body portable exercise cycling hardware and software that builds a bridge between fitness and outpatient rehabilitation. Her professional background includes entrepreneurial success in public relations and communications.

Michele demonstrates the power of intently listening to customers that have limited mobility, as well as partnering with physical and occupational therapists and hospital rehab professionals to deliver proper exercise solutions. Customer insights include understanding that many people who need access to Excy’s fitness device, to help improve their health, at the same time have lost income or gained medical expenses due to injury, illness or disability. Understanding this, Excy then responded by creating rent-to-own and monthly rental program options.

Michele is committed to eliminating the barriers of exercise for all, not only by providing Excy’s inclusively designed hardware and software but in every aspect of customer engagement. Through Michele’s customer focus, the company is finding the sweet spot of continuing to make Excy’s high quality, and versatile exercise equipment yet provides affordable options.


Daniel-Adriano Silva, PhD

Organization: Neoleukin Therapeutics
Nominator: Lance Stewart

Dr. Daniel Adriano Silva is the Co-Founder and Vice President for Research at Neoleukin Therapeutics. With a PhD. in biochemistry, Daniel is a true innovator in computational de novo protein design.

Earlier this year Dr. Silva and his team of collaborators published their breakthroughs in the Nature journal. They described how computers can be used to design from scratch totally new proteins that by mimicry, mediate the potent immune-modulatory effects of natural cytokines, but with less negative side effects. For example, the protein “Neo-215” perfectly mimics the function of a natural cancer fighting protein, interleukin-2, but with greatly reduced side effects and tremendously simplified manufacturing.

Through his Translational Research at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design, Daniel and his team were able to start-up and spin out a new company, Neoleukin Therapeutics. With a recently announced reverse merger with Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Neoleukin Therapeutics is now the first publicly traded company in history with a de novo designed protein as its core technology.

Francisco Pelaez Aller

Organization: Plain Concepts
Nominator: Jose Bermejo

Francisco Pelaez Aller is a Regional Delivery Manager and Software Development Engineer with Redmond based Plain Concepts. He has academic training in informatics engineering.

Francisco and his team brought to reality a cutting-edge approach to improve the efficacy of biopsies. Utilizing HoloLens and Wave augmented reality guidance, their solution helps doctors perform biopsies. Their device is a very creative way to reduce errors while decreasing patient pain and improving overall satisfaction for both patients and physicians.

Kerry Curran

Organization: Lung Technologies, LLC
Nominator: Xia Curran

Kerry Curran is the co-founder of Lung Technologies, LLC. To that role, he brings years of experience in customer relations and sales management in the cardio/thoracic and respiratory capital equipment space.

Building on collaboration with Seattle University and Gonzaga University, under Kerry’s leadership, Lung Technologies, LLC is developing a second generation version incentive spirometer with an electronic user interface and a DVT prevention device incorporating active/passive blood manipulation technology. Both these rehabilitative medicine procedures are critical in post-surgical recovery and care. With the company’s electronic user-interface, valuable information on patient compliance is available to the treating physician or respiratory therapist.

More specifically, the company’s e-DV-Tech active/passive technology provides for maximal manipulation of blood in the calf region thus preventing DVT’s. Likewise, Lung Technologies active electronic Incentive Spirometer allows for maximal re-opening of the lung alveoli following surgery under general anesthesia. Monitoring patient compliance of both rehabilitative procedures following surgery will greatly reduce hospital post-surgical recovery times and thus costs.

Matthew Tabakin, MD

Organization: medsense, Inc.
Nominator: Marc Miller, M.D.

Dr. Matthew Tabakin is a physician and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of medsense.

Medsense is an AI powered and blue tooth enhanced mobile platform that helps people take their medications safely and on schedule and equips caregivers and family members with a tool to monitor real-time medication usage and support care. Matt exemplifies imagination across several domains. Based on his experience as a medical student in the emergency department, Matt realized that a root solution for avoiding bad outcomes in the emergency department (and for hospitalized patients) began with improving medication compliance in a patient’s home weeks and months earlier. The combination of his curiosity, insights, and imagination has created not only a solution for that original challenge to improving outcomes, but an IP protected platform for solving other healthcare problems.

At this point, there is demand for medsense’s device hub and associated technology from beyond medication compliance alone. Matt has demonstrated a keen ability to envision other customers, service settings, and continuous evolution of product configurations that are commercially viable. An example is Matt adopting medsense’s solution to evolving pharmacy delivery models. His imagination, combined with initiative and follow through, has expanded the use case from retail pharmacy usage to senior adult housing and other settings. These initiatives have gained traction from respected potential partners within those spaces. In summary, Matt Tabakin has demonstrated an admirable imaginative strength harnessed with an entrepreneur’s can-do attitude and positive energy.

Muhammad Ahmad, PhD

Organization: KenSci
Nominator: Fiza Samual

Dr. Muhammad Ahmad is a Principal Data Scientist and Machine Learning Lead at KenSci. With a PhD. in biochemistry, Muhammad is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

KenSci’s Machine Learning Platform and Predictive Analytics Apps answer the hard questions about ‘Who might get sick?”, “What can we do about it?’ and ‘How can we serve them better across the continuum of care?’. The company’s team of Doctors, Data Scientists, and Developers are focused on building the first vertically integrated Machine Learning Platform for Healthcare.

Muhammad’s contributions for KenSci and beyond include pioneering research on Explainable AI in healthcare. Furthermore, Muhammad’s work addresses many of the deficiencies in the related field of Accountable AI.


Nick Fradkin

Organization: WA State Department of Health
Nominator: Jo Masterson

Nick Fradkin is a Tobacco Cessation Consultant with the Washington State Department of Health. He has master’s degrees in both public administration and public health.

Among other responsibilities, Nick runs the tobacco cessation efforts for the Washington State Department of Health. Despite very limited resources and funds, Nick has continued to drive cessation efforts through developing innovative programs for targeted populations. Recently, Nick has been tasked with addressing the vaping epidemic affecting Washington’s teens and young adults. He has championed and helped create a new vaping cessation program that is delivered via an app. To do this, Nick not only had to secure internal buy-in, but he collaborated with tobacco cessation experts, educators and the digital health company to assure the new program was safe and appropriate for the at-risk populations. This effort helped WA state become the first state to offer an app-based program for teens who vape. Nick is well regarded for his ability, when faced with big needs and limited resources, to continue to drive forward with determination and persistence, and going the extra mile to find new solutions.

Nominate the 5th Annual Health Innovators of the Year for 2019

Nominate the 5th Annual Health Innovators of the Year for 2019

Deadline November 8, 2019
Notification of Finalist status November 27th
Winners announced at the Seattle Health Innovators Holiday Gathering on Thursday Dec 12 at the Cambia Grove.

Nomination should only take about 20 minutes of your time and can be completed on a computer, tablet or phone.

This award is for your peers, your teammates, your collaborators!

The Seattle Health Innovators of the Year Awards are intended to recognize and encourage individuals who engage in the hard work of driving progress in health and health care. We recognize that progress comes from both innovative ideas and exceptional execution by individuals. These awards are for our colleagues whose efforts we respect and whose examples inspire us. Sectors covered include care delivery, payers/purchasers, health and wellness, life sciences/research, health IT, data science and device/applications.

Who has changed your way of thinking, over the past year?

Awards will be made in each of the following categories:

Imagination: This category is to recognize individual achievement in conceiving new ways of solving problems in the health sector via new methods, ideas, products, services, or business models.

  • Perseverance: This category is to recognize individual achievement in demonstrating tenacity over time in the face of adversity and in transforming health innovation challenges into opportunities.
  • Customer-focus: This category is to recognize an individual member of an innovation team who maintains focus on the customer and builds deep, long-term relationships by better understanding, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and latent customer needs.
  • Collaboration: This category is to recognize an individual who has put aside organizational boundaries and has established effective relationships with innovators in other companies.
  • Imagination: This category is to recognize individual achievement in conceiving new ways of solving problems in the health sector via new methods, ideas, products, services, or business models.

Nominees must be individuals with a genuine connection to the Cascadia Region (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia) involved in health innovation.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Scott Kennedy
Health Innovation NW Treasurer
(206) 755 3594

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