Boston Children's Hospital has given three $50,000 "Taking on Tomorrow" innovation awards to researchers and clinicians at UCLA, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. The awards were presented during the recent National Innovation Pediatric Summit hosted by the hospital.
Three independent judging panels representing research and healthcare leaders inside and outside Boston Children's, chose the awards. The awards fell in three categories, judged for the maturity of the technology, the commercial potential, intellectual property considerations, and the strength of the development team:
*Research/Scientific Breakthrough in Autism \ awarded to Daniel Geschwind, M.D., University of California, Los Angeles. Geschwind's group identified two consistent sets of molecular changes in the brain, providing strong confirmation that autism's multiple different genetic or environmental causes converge on a common "molecular pathology" in the brain. The changes, found in more than two-thirds of subjects with autism, affect two molecular processes: the function of neurons and the activity of microglial cells, part of the brain's native immune system.
*Clinical Innovation \ awarded to Charles Dumoulin, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, for developing an infant-sized magnetic resonance imaging system. It is small enough to image fragile newborns, including preemies as small as a pound or less, and has a footprint of only a few square feet, allowing it to be housed directly in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The system includes two methods for moving small infants into the scanner, including those in incubators, with minimal disturbance and risk, and exposes infants to a minimum of noise (equivalent to a quiet office setting). It has been used in more than 150 newborns at Cincinnati Children's and has already spawned new research projects.
*Community/Patient Empowerment \ awarded to Christopher P. Landrigan, M.D., and Alisa Khan, M.D., of Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, for an interactive nightly "sign out form" for families of hospitalized children. The tool mirrors Boston Children's I-PASS system for physician-to-physician patient "handoff," successfully piloted in 10 hospitals. The sign out is designed to empower families to play a more active, informed role in managing their children's health while in the hospital. With the award, the current paper form will become a scalable app that integrates with patients' electronic medical records.
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