Empowering innovators at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center
The Frankel Cardiovascular Center (FCVC) Innovation Program was created to foster a culture of innovation at the FCVC. Designed to empower innovators, the programs are administered by a collaborative team from the FCVC and Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI).
The FCVC Innovation Challenge, taking place on Thursday, Nov. 14, is an annual pitch competition where four to five teams who submitted top ideas impacting cardiovascular care compete for up to $100,000 in funding.
This exciting event is run much like an episode of, “Shark Tank,” where the teams pitch their ideas to the judges. Anyone at the FCVC — faculty, staff, trainees, patients and families — is eligible to submit ideas and attend the event.
Past funded ideas include the purchase of mobility aids to improve mobility of patients in the CVICU, the development of a training and certification program to improve ventricular assist device (VAD) patient care, the implementation of grip strength testing to detect frailty and a program to improve early mobility of heart failure patients.
The Innovation Challenge also funds “Just Do It” awards, which are low-cost, low-complexity ideas. Ideas funded through this mechanism include little free libraries, charging stations in patient and family waiting areas, and the distribution of equipment bags to protect spare VAD equipment. You can find out more about this year’s upcoming event and challenge process by clicking here.
Another program offered through this collaborative effort is the Aikens Innovation Academy. Now in its second year, this program is comprised of education, mentoring and funding designed to progress innovative ideas. The cornerstone of the program is a 10-week course on innovation and commercialization concepts, taught by David Olson, Ph.D., life science entrepreneur and Office of Technology Transfer mentor-in-residence.
The course combines lectures with workshops and innovators leave the course with a well-developed pitch for resources. Participants receive mentorship from the course instructor, FCVC Innovation team and leaders at FFMI. Projects with commercial potential are eligible to apply for early stage funding and will be connected with appropriate early- and mid-stage funding life science commercialization mechanisms administered by FFMI.
The first cohort of the Aikens Innovation Academy supported six ideas that included a diagnostic software to reduce the invasiveness of diagnosing coronary artery disease and an app to improve communication between patients and providers. The second year of the program will begin in January 2020; enrollment is now open to all cardiovascular innovators.