The VHA Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) is proud to announce the Innovation Fellowship Program’s newest innovation fellows. Six new fellows were carefully chosen by VHA IE leadership from over 30 applications and will utilize VHA IE’s community and resources to expand their innovations’ capabilities. It will also promote their unique innovative visions across VHA. This highly selective and prestigious program allows frontline employee innovators to expand their network and gain useful skills to mature their innovative initiatives or products (their projects) to its capacity.
The Fellowship Program builds workforce capacity through the development of emerging and senior leaders to become innovation agents capable of championing solutions that will improve health care for Veterans. This year, the new Senior Innovation Fellows and Entrepreneurs in Residence will make up the most diverse cohort yet. Suzanne Shirley, director of Fellowships and Community Engagement for VHA IE will work directly with fellows, as they continue developing their solutions.
Previous fellows from Cohorts 1 and 2 have demonstrated the success of the program. Dr. Beth Ripley from the 2018 cohort was recently awarded the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in Science and Environment Award for creating an interconnected 3D-printing network that allowed doctors to examine models of patient organs and tissues prior to treatment. Suzanne Shirley, a 2018 Fellow who now oversees the Fellowship Program, has gone on to lead an initiative that is ending diabetic limb loss across VA.
The Senior Innovation Fellowship is for mature, large-scale innovation projects that are ready to scale, while the Entrepreneur in Residence is for emerging projects that are ready to be tested for real-world impact. Both opportunities expand Fellows’ innovation competencies and serve as a leadership development opportunity. Below is a list of the 2021 class of Innovation Fellows:
|Senior Innovation Fellow||Dr. Arash Harzand||Atlanta VA Medical Center||Digital Cardiology will work to enable expansion of telecardiology services through widespread implementation, and clinical integration, of virtual cardiac care. This work focuses on Veteran-facing technologies and the construction of a centralized pathway to identify and evaluate virtual cardiac solutions in partnership with Research and Development (R&D).|
|Senior Innovation Fellow||Dr. Michael Amendola||Central Virginia VA Health Care System||3D Printing Clinical Champion will work with 3D printing engineers, clinical stakeholders, and the Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) team to develop 3D printing curriculum and quality assurance processes. This integration will optimize a manufacturing approach.|
|Entrepreneur in Residence||Dr. Ajibola “George” Akingba||Washington DC VA Medical Center||Retraction Housing Device (RHoD) will further the development of a 3D-printed Class II medical device fabricated for the purpose of efficient guide-wire management, retraction, and housing in any area with space constraints. RHoD is an innovative hand-held guide-wire capable of improving wire retraction times, wire-storage space requirements, and wire-utilization efficiency.|
|Entrepreneur in Residence||Dr. Ravi Rasalingam||VA Boston Healthcare System||Novel Device for Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) will continue the development and testing of a 3D computer design and printing workflow that manufactures a custom-fit mouthguard. This innovation aims to demonstrate efficacy in reducing OSA, improving sleep quality, and improving comfort for Veterans.|
|Entrepreneur in Residence||Dr. Indra Sandal||Memphis VA Medical Center||Veteran Rideshare Services (VRS) will address transportation barriers through a new, public-private partnership between VA and Uber/Lyft rideshare services. This partnership will integrate a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-complaint technology solution of Uber Health/Lyft into a VA Medical Center’s existing system, and provide a ride-sourcing platform specifically to health care providers. It allows clinics and VA Medical Centers to book rides for patients, track their trips, record billing and spending information, and send reminders to their mobile phone or landline from a centralized dashboard. VRS will provide dedicated non-emergency medical transportation to improve access to health care and social services.|
|Entrepreneur in Residence||Dr. Raza Hussain||Jesse Brown VA Medical Center||Teeth in a Day will overhaul Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by offering implant-based, immediate load, full-arch prosthodontic rehabilitation of a patient’s entire missing dentition and surrounding soft tissue structures. With this method, an eligible Veteran who is missing all his/her teeth, or who has teeth damaged beyond repair, can have them replaced with an implant retained prothesis in one appointment.|