UCLA creates regional hub for med tech, digital health

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Thanks to a grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, Los Angeles is home to a new hub to spur development of medical technology and digital health tools.

The UCLA Biodesign Hub is meant to tap into Silicon Beach, greater LA’s tech and startup community with more than 500 companies, as well as the clinical resources of the UCLA Health system.

“Bridging the gap between medicine and technology is key to advancing patient care,” said Desert Horse-Grant, senior director of UCLA Health Research and Innovation. “The UCLA Biodesign Hub positions UCLA Health as a regional center for innovation in Southern California in partnership with technology companies.”

Google, Medtronic, Samsung and other tech vendors are supporting the regional initiative, according to UCLA Health, which—along with UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine—matched Department of Commerce EDA’s $750,000 grant for a total of $1.5 million in funding over three years.

“By supporting academic pursuits that focus on medical technology, Medtronic hopes to strengthen local talent and capabilities in Southern California,” says Rebecca Gottlieb, vice president of research and technology for the Diabetes Group at Medtronic, based in Northridge, Calif.

To train the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs, the UCLA Biodesign Fellowship offers a year-long entrepreneurial opportunity to apply technology to some of the industry’s most challenging problems. Fellows are able to leverage clinical and health IT resources at UCLA Health as part of their work.

“Tech has become synonymous with the development and adoption of healthcare innovations,” said Jennifer McCaney, executive director of UCLA Biodesign and an associate director of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “Scaling our regional health technology footprint, however, requires expertise and resources that have yet to be leveraged in Los Angeles.”

Last month, UCLA Biodesign began sponsoring 10 innovation fellows and a team of four MBA graduates.

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