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Innovation News November 8th 2021

We are into November now, which is the month for awareness of several groups and conditions. These include, but are not limited to, Native American Awareness Month, Men’s Health Awareness Month (Movember), Radiology Week (11/7-11/114), Palliative and Hospice Awareness, Nurse Practitioner’s week and National Family Caregiver’s week.

We have picked the most relevant innovations in healthcare for this week based on their potential impact on healthcare disparities. Enjoy!

Honda is working on a Shoe Navigation System for Visually Impaired People

By Sara Lautner. Photo credit: Honda.co.jp

The “in-shoe navigation system” is a navigation device developed by Honda for visually impaired individuals. This device is connected to the user’s shoes and assists them in navigating to their chosen location, which is specified using a smartphone app that feeds information to the device. Before the end of March 2023, the company expects to have a marketable product on the market.

See the full article here: https://knovhov.com/shoe-navigation-system-for-visually-impaired/

Embracing Community and Culture to Prevent Underage Drinking

By George F. Koob, Ph.D. Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Photo of NIAAA Director, Dr. George F. Koob https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/about-niaaa/directors-page

Supporting research to better understand and address alcohol-related health disparities and improve the health of underserved populations is one of the highest priorities of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

In a decades-long project supported by NIAAA, Stacy Rasmus, Ph.D., at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in collaboration with the Yup’ik Native Alaskan community, is examining how tapping into a community’s culture can provide a cornerstone for youth substance misuse and suicide prevention efforts.

Pictured are two youths who are members of the Yup’ik community in Alaska, which is collaborating with an NIAAA grantee on an alcohol-use prevention program. Photo Credit: Georgianna Ningeulook, Scammon Bay, Alaska

Together, they developed the Qungasvik (Tools for Life)” Toolbox” intervention, which uses community, cultural, and historical connectedness to build protective factors against suicide and alcohol misuse at individual, family, and community levels. Research findings have shown that Qungasvik is effective in reducing co-occurring youth alcohol misuse and suicide risk, and ultimately, AUD and death by suicide.

Read the whole article here 


Healthline Partners with The Man Enough Podcast on ‘No More Silence’ Series

In honor of Men’s Health Awareness Month, Healthline Media has announced a new partnership with filmmaker, author, actor, and Wayfarer Studios co-founder Justin Baldoni and The Man Enough Podcast, co-hosted by longtime collaborator and president of Wayfarer Studios Jamey Heath, and international best-selling author of For The Love of Men Liz Plank. The Man Enough Podcast features intimate, open conversations with high-profile guests investigating how traditional structures of success, failure, privilege, and relationships negatively affect men, women, and humanity as a whole.

The new four-part video series, called “No More Silence,” will explore different aspects of men’s health, why men avoid speaking up for their physical and mental well-being, and how we can create a world where more men are empowered to seek treatment.
The episodes and men’s health resources will be available at healthline.com/nomoresilence this month starting November 4 and released as a podcast November 8 on The Man Enough Podcast.

In addition to Baldoni, the series will feature:
Yolo Akili Robinson: Award-winning writer, healing justice worker, founder, and executive director of BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective)
Liz Plank: Journalist, filmmaker, international best-selling author of For The Love of Men, and co-host of The Man Enough Podcast
Jamey Heath: Grammy award-winning composer, songwriter, producer, and co-host of The Man Enough Podcast

For the full press release and more information, see here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211104005763/en/Healthline-Partners-with-The-Man-Enough-Podcast-on-%E2%80%98No-More-Silence%E2%80%99-Series

Homethrive’s Family Caregiving Platform Provides Much Needed Support Just in Time for National Family Caregivers Month

To help more people in time for National Family Caregivers Month, Homethrive, the technology-enabled healthcare service company that reduces work, worry, and stress for family caregivers, their loved ones, and employers, announced expanded access to its family caregiving platform, Dari. Through Dari, users have the expertise and advice of Homethrive’s expert Care Guides in the palms of their hands, to tackle topics such as enrolling in Medicare, navigating an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, choosing the best care options, and assisting loved ones with special needs.

“Our country has a problem that’s been percolating for years – taking care of our families, especially our seniors, while balancing life and work. Caregiving impacts 1 in 5 employees; 75% of whom are women, who are leaving the workforce in alarming numbers. And, for those who don’t leave the workforce, the stress and worry can take a huge toll on mental health and result in a loss of productivity for companies. Because November is National Family Caregivers Month, we wanted to raise awareness about the availability of Dari, our caregiving platform, so employers and their employees can get the information they need on-demand and on-the-go.”

Homethrive Co-founder, Dave Jacobs

See the full press release here; https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211104005372/en/Homethrive%E2%80%99s-Family-Caregiving-Platform-Provides-Much-Needed-Support-Just-in-Time-for-National-Family-Caregivers-Month

Marker Learning Raises $4MM to Expand Access to Affordable Learning Disability Evaluations and Services.

Marker Learning, a telepsychology platform that enables the remote administration of learning disability assessments and services, has announced a $4mm seed round led by Primary, with participation from Divergent Investments, Night Ventures, and Operator Partners. Marker Learning will use the funding to expand its team and accelerate its geographic expansion in the United States.

By working with leading psychologists and learning disability specialists, Bauer and Yudofsky developed a digital platform that enables psychologists to diagnose students in a remote setting for a fraction of the cost and time, compared to similar in-person services. 

“Receiving a proper diagnosis was one of the most impactful events of my life. We aim to provide best-in-class evaluations to the millions of students who currently do not have access to them, so that every student can reach their full potential.”

Stefan Bauer, Co-Founder.

For the full press release,: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211102005773/en/Marker-Learning-Raises-4MM-to-Expand-Access-to-Affordable-Learning-Disability-Evaluations-and-Services.

Aurora University Launches Betty Parke Tucker Center for Neurodiversity to Support College Students on the Autism Spectrum

Aurora University today announced the new Betty Parke Tucker Center for Neurodiversity to support students on the autism spectrum as they earn their college degrees and take their first steps toward launching their careers. The center will house AU’s Pathways Program for college-capable students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and include a first-of-its-kind, newly constructed residence hall with sensory supportive features designed specifically for college students with ASD. The residence hall will house both neurodiverse and neurotypical students as part of the university’s effort to integrate students with autism into campus life.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first universities in the nation to welcome college-capable students on the spectrum to a fully immersive campus experience that will help them reach their potential in their studies and their careers. These young people have so much to share and contribute. We know that when provided with the right support, the right environment, the right encouragement, college-capable students on the spectrum will earn their degrees and take meaningful roles in society and productive roles in the workplace.”

AU President Rebecca L. Sherrick. 

AU is stepping into the gap with its Pathways Program. The broad-based program provides a bridge for students with ASD and their families, helping them to make the transition from high school to college and from college to career.

For more information about Pathways, visit aurora.edu/pathways.


$10M Investment from Cincinnati Children’s Launches Ambitious Mental Health Mission

Imagine a day when a mental health expert could take a look at data about a classroom of first graders and identify who is at risk for suicidal behavior as a high schooler.

Imagine a health care system that enables the people who care about those children to take action early enough to prevent such a tragedy from occurring.

That’s the ultimate goal of the bold new mental health “trajectories” project, announced Nov. 8, 2021,  by leaders at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the world’s leading pediatric research, care and training centers. It’s a massive task that will involve more than 25 leading scientists at nine different research divisions within Cincinnati Children’s as well as collaborators at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Colorado and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Read the full post here:


The Hartford Announces Pilot To Train Connecticut Medical Providers On Addiction, Pain Management, and Stigma

The Hartford, a leading workers’ compensation and disability insurer, announced a new partnership with the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine (Yale-PAM) to develop a training program focused on addiction, pain management, and stigma for Connecticut medical providers who treat injured workers. The pilot launch follows a record-breaking number of deadly opioid-related overdoses in Connecticut and in the nation last year.

“The loss and suffering caused by the ongoing opioid crisis is heartbreaking, and now more than ever, it’s important that we all take action to dispel addiction stigma and engage with empathy,”

Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift

“We are grateful for The Hartford’s commitment to sustaining evidence-based treatment and the education of professionals who care for injured workers. We hope this pilot will produce a national educational resource that helps millions of individuals return to active, productive lives – without stigma or untreated addiction.”

Said David Fiellin, M.D., who with Jeanette Tetrault, MD, FACP, FASAM, founded the Yale-PAM 

Read the full press release here. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211105005455/en/The-Hartford-Announces-Pilot-To-Train-Connecticut-Medical-Providers-On-Addiction-Pain-Management-and-Stigma

Pear Therapeutics Announces Publication Showing Cost Savings and Decreased Hospital Encounters for Opioid Use Disorder Patients Treated with reSET-O® Compared to Control Patients During Nine-Month Period Following Prescription

Pear Therapeutics, Inc., today announced results from an analysis of real-world data evaluating healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) for reSET-O®, the first and only FDA-authorized prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). In the study, HCRU was measured during the nine-month period following a patients’ first prescription of reSET-O. Results from the analysis, published in ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research, found that total hospital facility and clinician services costs for patients treated with an 84-day prescription of reSET-O (n=444) were $8,733 compared to $11,441 for patients who were prescribed but did not use or engage with reSET-O (n=64). The resulting net cost savings over the 9-month period of $2,708 per treated patient was largely driven by a 46% lower incidence of hospital-related stays. These results support the real-world value of reSET-O in the treatment of a patient population in need of more comprehensive support with recovery.

“The severity of the opioid epidemic continues to increase due to the widespread availability of synthetic opioids, and due to the pandemic, which has increased social isolation and has shifted care patterns to a range of remote or virtual modes. The results of this analysis showed that patients who were treated with reSET-O showed substantially lower incidence of hospital encounters, particularly inpatient stays and ICU stays, compared to control patients. The data further show the value of behavioral interventions like reSET-O that can be delivered remotely to help patients.”

Yuri Maricich, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Pear Therapeutics. 

Read the full paper here: https://www.dovepress.com/comparison-of-healthcare-resource-utilization-between-patients-who-eng-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-CEOR


Spero Health Responds to Historic Overdose Deaths in Virginia with Opening of Addiction Treatment Clinic in Galax

Spero Health opening in Galax as CDC reports Virginia saw more than 2,186 deaths related to drug overdose in 2020, a 42.1% increase from 2019. Nationally over 93,000 Americans died from drug overdose during the same timeframe. These tragic numbers reflect the urgency of resources needed in local communities to save lives.

Spero Health utilizes an innovative evidence-based integrated care model that combines both physical and behavioral healthcare services under one roof. 

“Uncertainty and disruptions in daily life are still hitting those with substance use disorder particularly hard, and we want everyone to know that recovery is possible. Spero Health’s goal is to engage patients where they are in their journey and personalize the program to meet their specific needs so they can stabilize, allowing for interventions to support sustained recovery efforts. Patients will have weekly access to a physician or nurse practitioner, counseling and recovery support services that help link them back to the community to address other issues such as housing, food insecurity, employment and much more. We want to make it as easy as possible for patients to get the help they need that’s both affordable and close to home.”

David Hayden, Senior VP of Clinical Services

For more information about Spero Health, please visit www.sperohealth.com.


Labcorp and National Kidney Foundation Promote Patient Registry to Enhance Clinical Trial Accessibility, Diversity

Labcorp, a leading global life sciences company, and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), the largest patient organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of kidney disease, announced their collaboration to promote the NKF Patient Network, the first national registry for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients in the U.S. The NKF Patient Network will offer greater data and insights to physicians, as well as improved clinical trial access for patients with kidney disease.

“The NKF Patient Network is a great advancement in generating high-quality data, and it will facilitate access to more CKD trials and enrollment of more diverse subpopulations,” 

Dr. Barbara Gillespie, vice president and nephrology lead, Labcorp Drug Development. 

Patient registries are observational study methods used to collect standardized information about patients who share a condition or experience. The NKF Patient Network registry, which was launched in February 2021, has enrolled more than 1,100 patients across the U.S., with a goal of reaching 2,000 by March 2022.

People of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black/African American people are more than 3 times as likely as White people to have kidney failure. Hispanics/Latinos are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

To learn more about or join the National Kidney Foundation Patient Network, visit: NKFPatientNetwork.org

Dr. Kiana Aran, Chief Scientific Officer, and Paul Grint, Executive Chairman at Cardea Bio provide an overview of Aran Nebula.

Dr. Kiana Aran, associate professor at Keck Graduate Institute, and Chief Scientific Officer at Cardea Bio, announced the formation of the non-profit, Aran Nebula. The objectives of this non-profit are to reinvent how academia collaborates with industry, and to address the gender imbalance throughout all places of leadership in science.

In the interview session – headed by TEDx speaker, San Diego Business Journal’s Business Woman of the Year in 2017, and President & co-founder of LunaPBC, Dawn Barry – Dr. Aran shared that after winning the prestigious Nature Research Award on October 28, she decided that using the $40,000 prize money that came with the award would be the perfect timing and occasion to establish the Aran Nebula.

“To solve this global problem, it is critical that we uplift more great female minds into places of power in academia and STEM-based industries, as it will bring new perspectives, novel science, innovation, and breakthrough solutions. We, at the Aran Nebula, are here to ensure that this happens in STEM.”

Dr. Kiana Aran

See the video and read more here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211104006124/en/Dr.-Kiana-Aran-Forms-Non-Profit-Organization-the-Aran-Nebula-to-Tackle-Challenges-in-Science

People and organizations who would like to support the vision and mission of the Aran Nebula, can go to arannebula.org to learn more and register.

CFK Africa Begins Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution in Informal Settlements of Kenya in Partnership with Ministry of Health

CFK Africa, an international nonprofit with offices in the U.S. and Kenya, has begun distributing coronavirus vaccines through its Tabitha Medical Clinic in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest and most densely populated informal settlements, located outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The vaccine initiative is in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

“We found that members of the community were reassured right away by the fact that the shots are being administered through the Tabitha Medical Clinic. The people of Kibera have grown to trust the clinic over the years, which helps a great deal in reducing vaccine hesitancy.”

“Ending the pandemic will require everyone to get the shot, and we cannot do it without reaching people living in informal settlements. Thanks to CFK’s long history with the community, we have the kind of trust that will help ensure that the residents of Kibera get vaccinated.”

Eddah Ogogo, CFK’s primary healthcare program coordinator. 

Read more at carolinaforkibera.org

Second Annual $500,000 XSeed Award Launched by Deerfield Management to Support Underfunded and Underrepresented NYC Life Science Startups

Deerfield Management Company, a New York City-based healthcare investment firm today announced its second annual XSeed Award, a program designed to support New York City early-stage life science, minority-led startups. This year’s XSeed Award will be granted to individuals working on neurodegeneration research development projects.

“Funding translational product development by underrepresented communities is critical to help spark innovation,” said James E. Flynn, Managing Partner at Deerfield. “Broader diversity allows for new and different vantage points to be incorporated into the innovation and startup community, and the varied perspectives indisputably create better ideas and solutions. NYC is one of the most diverse communities in the world, and so must be our early-stage life science community.”

The underrepresented scientists and entrepreneurs working on important healthcare projects in NYC are actively furthering discoveries but too often lack support to progress more cures for patients. Through fostering this community of individuals, NYC can help change the disease narrative of the Biotech Industry.

The deadline for submission is January 7, 2022, and the winners will be announced in March.

To learn more about the XSeed Award’s applicant eligibility criteria, visit www.xseedaward.com.

Read the full press release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211103005819/en/Second-Annual-500000-XSeed-Award-Launched-by-Deerfield-Management-to-Support-Underfunded-and-Underrepresented-NYC-Life-Science-Startups

American Heart Association November 13th-15th, 2021, Virtual

The top minds are meeting this November for Scientific Sessions 2021. #AHA21 is now fully virtual, meaning you can experience breakthrough cardiovascular science updates in basic, clinical and population disciplines, and immerse yourself in innovative solutions to your daily practice – from anywhere!


American Association for the Study of Liver diseases: The Liver Meeting November 12th-15th, 2021. Virtual

The Liver Meeting brings together clinicians, associates, and scientists from around the world to exchange information on the latest research, discuss new developments in liver treatment and transplantation, and network with leading experts in the field of hepatology.


Jefferies London Healthcare conference November 16-19, 2021. London, UK

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the largest healthcare-dedicated conference in Europe. In 2020, we hosted over 550 participating companies, 3,000 attendees, and 6,500 business-to-business and investor meetings. Our conference will again feature leading public and private companies from the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology, and healthcare services sectors from the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.


BIOMEDevice Silicon Valley December 8-9, 2021 San Jose McEnery Convention Center

BIOMEDevice Silicon Valley, formerly known as BIOMEDevice San Jose, returns this winter. As Silicon Valley’s must-see regional event, biotech engineers and cutting-edge companies come together to preview the latest innovation in biotechnology and the solutions that are further pushing the boundaries of the industry.


Be sure to check out our meetings and events calendar, you can find it here: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0/r?tab=rc

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