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Jun 10, 2021

Although a “Big Event” disruption like the pandemic has presented brings extraordinary challenges, it also offer unique opportunity. As some of our former guests have discussed, times like these force leaders to take daring steps to ensure near-term survival and long-term sustainability and growth. According to the recent study, “Building Resilience & Maintaining Innovation in a Hybrid World,” productivity has remained stable or even increased for many companies that shifted to remote work in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, innovation has taken a hit as both leaders and team members feel more distant from each other.

Video meetings, instant messaging and texting can’t wholeheartedly duplicate the subtleties of being together in the same meeting room  - - - brainstorming, discussing strategies and building off of the energy and enthusiasm of one another.

Big event disruptions demand that leaders find a new way to liberate and tap into the innovation potential that exists inside their own organizations.

In the new book “Eat, Sleep, Innovate”, innovation expert Scott Anthony and his coauthors use groundbreaking research in behavioral science to provide a first-of-its-kind playbook for empowering individuals and teams to be their most curious and creative innovative thinking—every single day.  Scott is a Senior Partner at Innosight and former Managing Partner of the firm. Based in the firm’s Singapore offices since 2010, he has led Innosight’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region as well as its venture capital activities (Innosight Ventures).

In his more than a decade with Innosight, Scott has advised senior leaders in companies such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Singtel, Kraft, General Electric, LG, the Ayala Group, and Cisco Systems on topics of growth and innovation. He has extensive experience in emerging markets, particularly in India, China, and the Philippines. In 2019, Scott was recognized as the #9 most influential management thinker by Thinkers50, a biannual ranking of global business thinkers. In 2017, he was awarded the Thinkers50 Innovation Award, which recognizes the world’s leading thinker on innovation.

May 7, 2021

More than 10 years after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, healthcare reform still remains a top concern for the United States. For all of these past ten years, and even before, we have discussed and tried to fix the US health system to drive better access, increase affordability, and ensure equity. Yet:

  • The number of uninsured Americans is rising. After reaching rock bottom of 28.7 million (8.9 percent of the population) in 2016, the number of uninsured people is expected to rise to 37.2 million (10.6 percent of the population) by 2028. This comes at a time when a growing body of research links insurance coverage to improvements in financial security, health, and longevity.
  • Affordability—at both the health system and individual levels—is continuing to erode. Healthcare spending growth initially slowed after implementation of the ACA, but it has accelerated once again. The consequences of this acceleration are well established and include a growing national debt; strained federal, state, and local budgets; stagnant wages; and increased financial insecurity for Americans. Even for those with insurance coverage, health care is increasingly unaffordable: Roughly half of US adults have delayed or avoided care because of cost.
  • And the numerous ways implicit bias, racism and prejudice drive objectionable inequalities in health and wellness are increasingly obvious. There remain unacceptable inequities in health care access and outcomes by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other dimensions. This has been made painfully obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken an unacceptably high and disparate toll on underserved communities and people of color.

The COVID 19 pandemic has only made things worse and more evident. Achieving any meaningful change now, in the middle of this global healthcare crisis, seems unlikely.  Conversations about changes like expanded insurance coverage, accelerating a US transition to value-based care, advancing home-based care, improving the affordability of drugs and other therapeutics…….leave us all confused and overwhelmed.

The guest on this episode, Jessica Brooks, can help us better understand what change is possible. She is an expert on these topics and the discussion around healthcare value, access and quality on behalf of employer-sponsored health insurance. Employer-sponsored health insurance affects about 156,199,800 Americans, or around 49% of the country's total population get their health insurance from their employer. Jessica is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health (PBGH). Under her leadership, PBGH has delivered more than $25 million in annual savings to employers, as well as intervention programs, which have saved employees more than six million dollars in copays and out of pocket expenses since its launch. Ms. Brooks leads the deployment of a comprehensive data strategy, which enables employers to better leverage healthcare and benefits information with health plans, providers and other partners. In many ways this data strategy informed the development of a roadmap as Covid-19 unfolded, allowing for insights on mental health, chronic condition management, COVID-19 cases and utilization insights that drove strategic engagement prioritization for employers.

She also created a transformative health equity tool, Health Desk, a platform of technology and human compassion – developed to bring patients, employers, hospitals, human resources, and patient advocates together to address bias and its impact on the patient experience.

Apr 5, 2021

 Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth was a small but growing healthcare market. It was limitedly used for urgent care type doctor visits. As the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for all of us in 2020, numerous hospitals and doctor’s offices pivoted hurriedly to virtual, telehealth appointments because patients were afraid to head to healthcare locations and the government created flexibility for telehealth to be covered by medical benefits. Within the first several months of the pandemic, 30% of Americans had used telehealth solutions with doctor’s usage rocketing as over 60% of healthcare providers started offering telehealth visits.

The use of telehealth is likely going to continue, especially in this first half of 2021 as COVID-19 continues to threaten the world. A recent report from Deloitte predicts the percentage of virtual video visits with doctors “will rise to 5% globally in 2021, up from an estimated 1% in 2019.” The Deloitte report added that people have become more comfortable using virtual visits and has grasped a better understanding of video-calling apps, especially older patients.

Telehealth will continue to enable access to necessary care in specialties with shortages, such as behavioral health, improve the patient experience, and ultimately improve health outcomes for patients. Essentially, the combination of fully virtual and near-virtual health solutions brings care closer to and directly into the home, increasing the ability for patients to access care when they need it increasing the likelihood that they will take the right steps to better manage their own health.

We are fortunate to have a leading telehealth expert with us on this episode. Julian Flannery is the founder and CEO of Summus Global. Summus Global is a virtual specialist platform that empowers families by providing people access to a network of 4,000+ top specialists across 48 leading hospitals -- within days, from anywhere in the world. The Summus model sets a new standard for speed of virtual access to high-quality medical expertise.

Mar 11, 2021


Driven by her visionary passion and ceaseless curiosity, Mary Ann Liebert identifies and nurtures critical topics and cutting-edge fields by creating first-to-market, specialized publications that play a vital role in advancing research and facilitating collaboration in academia, industry, and government.

Mary Ann became interested in medical publishing when she was searching literature to try to find an effective treatment for her father’s Parkinson’s disease. In the late 1960s, it was a very unusual illness. Although she was not able to find a new drug or therapy to help her father, this research ignited her interest in medical publishing. Founded by Mary Ann Liebert in 1980, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a leading independent publisher of scientific, technical, and medical content, known worldwide for its prescience and establishment of authoritative peer-reviewed journals, books, and trade publications in cutting-edge fields such as biotechnology, biomedical research, medicine and surgery, public health research and policy, technology and engineering, law, environmental research and policy, and other specialized disciplines. The company publishes over 90 peer-reviewed journals, leading trade magazines, and specialized newsletters, in addition to society membership management and conferences.

Mary Ann is deeply involved in the development and content of her more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific journals. Because of this she has extensive insight and interesting perspectives about many topics regarding medical innovation and practice. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her personal contributions in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences.

In this episode, we talk with Mary Ann about her career, her passions and the interesting medical topics covered by her 80 journals.

Mar 4, 2021

Any of us with young people in our lives likely have heard the stories of  Virtual reality (VR) games immersing  players in a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Virtual reality (VR) is the use of video and audio to immerse a user in the experience of an artificial environment, often in 3D and often with 360 degrees of vision. VR creates a fully rendered digital environment that replaces the user’s real-world environment. Galactic battles, time travel, underwater exploration, building civilizations………..the gaming possibilities are limitless.

The same VR that began for gaming and entertainment is also being leveraged as immersive learning to revolutionize how we train for high-risk jobs in fields such as military, safety and healthcare  - -  and how we most effectively prepare doctors, nurses and first responders with the critical skills necessary for complicated and dangerous procedures in a more immersive, hands-on and realistic training environment before they actually engage with real patients in need of medical care.

According to research from Goldman Sachs, by 2025 the market size for VR and augmented reality software alone may reach $35 billion, including more than $5 billion devoted just to health care. In the life sciences and health care fields, the market for virtual patient simulations is expected to grow almost 20 percent a year to become a billion-and-a-half-dollar industry by 2025.

The guest in this episode, Dr Brennan Spiegel, MD, is a world renowned expert in how using digital technologies such as VR can transform healthcare. He is the director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research. He directs the Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CS-CORE), a multidisciplinary team that investigates how digital health technologies — including wearable biosensors, smartphone applications, virtual reality and social media — can strengthen the patient-doctor bond, improve outcomes and save money. CS-CORE unites clinicians, computer scientists, engineers, statisticians and health services researchers to invent, test and implement digital innovations, always focusing on the value of technology to patients and their providers. Spiegel has published numerous best-selling medical textbooks, editorials and more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is listed in the Onalytica "Top 100 Influencer" lists for digital health (No. 13) and virtual reality (No. 14). His digital health research has been featured by major media outlets, including NBC News, PBS, Forbes, Bloomberg, NPR and Reuters. Beyond his focus on digital health innovations, Spiegel conducts psychometric, health-economic, epidemiologic and qualitative research across a wide range of healthcare topics. As a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Field Advisory Committee, Spiegel also develops endpoints for clinical trials. His research team receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Veterans Administration and industry sources. Spiegel is editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the leading clinical gastroenterology journal in North America. He continues to practice clinical medicine and maintains a busy academic teaching practice at Cedars-Sinai. A prolific speaker, Spiegel is frequently invited to present on his areas of expertise at national and international events.

Dr. Spiegel has spent years studying the medical power of the mind, and in his new book, VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine, he reveals how simple virtual reality headsets can offer us a new way to heal by tricking the body into thinking it’s somewhere that it isn’t, or can do something that it can’t usually do.

Feb 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a massive shock to consumer loyalty. McKinsey’s latest research on customer attitudes and habits has revealed that 35 percent of United States consumers have tried a new brand since the crisis began while 77 percent have also tried new shopping behaviors, including new channels, stores, and brands. That same rate generally holds true for consumers surveyed all around the world during these trying times. A key driver in these shopping behaviors is personalization. A recent report by Deloitte reported that 1 in 5 consumers are willing to pay 20% more for a personalized or exclusive product and 46% of consumers say they are happy to wait longer to get their customized product or service.

Personalization in online shopping is nothing new, but real-time personalized offers based on artificial intelligence in a two-sided marketplace is the new wave of the future.

According to futurist and Forbes contributor Blake Morgan, consumers have come to expect an equal amount and effort toward personalization from companies of all sizes that they interact with. Consumer personalization efforts to build relationships and create better experiences can pay off with serious rewards for businesses and companies that don’t prioritize creating a tailored experience run the risk of getting left behind. According to a Survey conducted by Salesforce:

  • 70% of consumers say that a company understanding how they use products and services is very important to winning their business.
  • Consumers are 2.1x more likely to view personalized offers as important versus unimportant.
  • 59% of consumers say personalized engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their repeat business.
  • 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty.

Right now especially with job uncertainty and financial strain on families, consumers, along with personalization need more purchasing power when they are choosing how to spend their money on things like food, gas and groceries. They are making buying decisions based on affordability and choosing to interact with businesses that are showing them that they understand their personal needs and are willing to reward their loyalty.  The reality is that both customers AND brick-and-mortar businesses are weathering these very difficult times and both need to benefit from what is essentially a two-sided business relationship. People need more value for their dollar on everyday purchases and businesses need to generate profits to stay open.

On this episode, our guest Wayne Lin has been working for years to help consumers have personalized buying opportunities and get the most incentive possible from their decisions while helping businesses connect to valuable customers and profits. As Co-founder and COO of the company GetUpside, he has worked to help people get more value for their dollar on everyday purchases and to help businesses consolidate demand for their products and services by digitally personalizing brick-and-mortar business and connecting customers with local businesses that offer the best value on the things that they need. And he is doing something very right.

Just on the GetUpside platform alone, customer transactions have grown 1,700% in the last year. More than 26 million customer users with access to offers have earned tens of millions of dollars in cash back loyalty rewards from more than 20,000 merchants nation-wide, with over $1B in business running through the platform.

Jan 22, 2021

There is no shortage of predictions about how advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics will possibly see humans replaced in all kinds of jobs. Technological advances in artificial intelligence have certainly made it possible to use robotics and automate many jobs that previously could only be done by a human. Despite fears or questions about robots taking over, human brainpower will still be necessary. Realistically, instead of destroying entire jobs and creating completely new robot-led occupations AI and automation will most likely more change what activities people focus on in their work and perhaps share with AI-driven robots.

According to McKinsey, given currently demonstrated technologies, very few occupations—less than 5 percent—are candidates for full automation. However, almost every occupation has partial automation potential, and a proportion of its activities could be automated. McKinsey estimates that about half of all the activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could potentially be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. That amounts to almost $15 trillion in wages.

Depending on the job and the area of application, humans and robots can work together with varying degrees of collaboration. Industry calls this “human-robot collaboration.” This collaboration is defined as:

Coexistence: Humans and robots work in adjacent workspaces without safety fencing. They do not, however, share a common workspace and work independently of one another on different tasks.

Cooperation: In human-robot cooperation, humans and robots work in the same workspace. They work alternately on different tasks within a process. There is no direct interaction.

Collaboration: Humans and robots interact in a shared workspace. For example, the robot passes something to the human operator, or they simultaneously perform different tasks on the same work.

Today’s guests Laura Major and Julie Shah have dedicated their careers to this idea of advanced human-robot interaction.

Laura Major is CTO of Motional (previously Hyundai-Aptiv Autonomous Driving Joint Venture), where she leads the development of autonomous vehicles. Previously, she led the development of autonomous aerial vehicles at CyPhy Works and a division at Draper Laboratory. Major has been recognized as a national Society of Women Engineers Emerging Leader. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Julie Shah is a roboticist at MIT and an associate dean of social and ethical responsibilities of computing. She directs the Interactive Robotics Group in the Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT. She was a Radcliffe fellow, has received an National Science Foundation Career Award, and has been named one of MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35." She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

They have co-authored the book WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING ROBOTS, introducing us to the revolutionary idea of human-robot collaboration. They believe that next generation of robots won’t be limited to specific tasks like your Roomba and Alexa are right now. They will be able to drive on roads, deliver goods, stock shelves, and coordinate teams of nurses and doctors. These advanced machines will work with us, not just for us.

Dec 10, 2020

At a moment in time when we, as Americans, are depending heavily on the media for information about the US election, the coronavirus pandemic and other national and global developments, the public remains fundamentally untrusting of the media. According to Gallup, four in 10 U.S. adults say they have "a great deal" (9%) or "a fair amount" (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news "fully, accurately, and fairly," while six in 10 have "not very much" trust (27%) or "none at all" (33%).

Gallup began asking about trust in the media in 1972 and has continued to do so nearly every year since 1997. Trust ranged between 68% and 72% in the 1970s, and though it had declined by the late 1990s, it remained at the majority level until 2004, when it dipped to 44%. After hitting 50% in 2005, it has not risen above 47%.

The latest findings, from Gallup's annual Governance poll conducted (Aug. 31-Sept. 13,) are consistent with all but one recent trust rating -- in 2016, a steep decline in Republicans' trust in the media led to the lowest reading on record (32%).

Republicans' trust has not improved since then, while Democrats' has risen sharply. In fact, Democrats' trust over the past four years has been among the highest Gallup has measured for any party in the past two decades. This year, the result is a record 63-percentage-point gap in trust among the political party groups.

And yet with all of this mistrust and political polarization and pessimism about the news media in the U.S., the majority of Americans still believe strongly that an independent media is absolutely crucial to a functioning democracy.  (Gallup and the Knight Foundation's Trust, Media and Democracy.)

  • 81% of surveyed say news media is "critical" or "very important" to democracy
  • 83% think there is at least a fair amount of political bias in news coverage
  • Republicans most likely to perceive political bias in news media

So with all of this distrust, how can we know we are getting the truth from news sources?

The guest on this episode, Arjun Moorthy is here to help. Arjun has always loved the news -- - ever since he was a paper boy in middle school and through becoming editor in chief of the Stanford reporter. He believes that best news enlightens us, brings us together, and improves our communities. Arjun is currently CEO and Co-Founder of The Factual -   a news-related aggregation and ranking website based in San Mateo, California. The website aims to address the increasing polarization of society, driven by social media, by surfacing the most credible stories across the political spectrum. The Factual delivers news mainly via a daily email-based newsletter but you can also access this on-demand on their website.

The Factual analyzes the credibility of over 20,000 stories every single day.

Oct 23, 2020

The word innovation is a much used banner of business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs. People like me and Lynn who work to leverage technology to solve big problems, and hopefully change the world for the better, pride ourselves on being called innovators. Even this podcast is guilty of using the word innovation as our title and brand. The irony behind his proudly used king of buzzwords is that, originally, "innovation," which is derived from the Latin word innovationem, wasn't a compliment. It was an accusation. It wasn’t first used as a noun of action – “a new idea, device, or method” – until the 16th century. Until then, “novators” were treated with suspicion. A novator was someone with deviant political or religious beliefs undermining the traditional power structure.

As we use the term today, innovation refers to the process of executing ideas which result in the creation of value for an organization and its customers. An innovative idea should be able to address a targeted need, issue, goal or objective that an organization or group has outlined.  The innovative idea should use new methods, original thoughts and creative thinking.  It must ultimately result in an advancement to a product, process or service.

I think though, that in order to get out of the “buzzword” way of thinking, the focus should shift away from the term itself to the development of skills and behaviors that are necessary to actually implement ideas.

61% of respondents participating in PwC’s Innovation Benchmark report say embracing an open innovation approach to generate new ideas is definitely something that is recognized as beneficial to any organization.  Yet, nearly three out of four global executives believe a lack of skills is an issue facing their industry. And 64 percent say this problem is restricting their ability to innovate. (GE Global Innovation Barometer)

The guest on this episode, Brant Cooper, understands that business and personal success is about building innovative skills and behaviors. He is an expert at teaching leaders how to find personal and economic growth through creating new value for fellow humans. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur and CEO of Moves the Needle. With over two decades of expertise helping companies bring innovative products to market, he blends agile, design thinking, and lean methodologies to ignite entrepreneurial action within large organizations. Brant leads a team of 4 to produce a $2M annual run rate. He has helped more than 60 enterprise clients build an “entrepreneurial spirit” in their organizations.

Oct 2, 2020

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Traumatic brain injury (or TBI as you have heard of it) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, more than 150 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI.  Fifty people will have died from a TBI while you listen to this podcast. 

Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or for the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression). A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI and figuring out when a blow has caused impairment, a step on the way to impairment or no effect has vexed scientists and engineers for decades.

Most TBIs are basically concussions…but the statistics are scary…3 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States.

Because no two people are exactly alike, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. So how can we create accurate and predictive diagnostic devices that inform us about not just what immediate damage was caused, but what may happen and how to measure whether we are fixing it?

A Pittsburgh-based company is using its 30 plus years of experience in eye tracking technology to help with the diagnosis of TBI. NeuroKinetics is a world leader in eye tracking technology and non-invasive neuro-otologic diagnostic testing. Central to their I-Portal® product mix and advances in clinical eye tracking is the premise that the eye is the window to the brain.

The guest on this episode, Neuro Kinetics CEO, Howison Schroeder, has been building a successful company that is based on technology that precisely tracks the reflexive responses of the eye in response to a battery of stimuli. Their research has shown that the detection of abnormal eye movements can indicate the presence of over 200 diseases and medical conditions. The technology is non-invasive and could become a powerful indicator of disease and prognosis. Concussions are not just clinically important, the estimated commercial market for an effective concussion diagnostic exceeds $1.5 billion. 

Sep 11, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to hold us in its grip, our nation is required to social distance and children are expected to go back to school virtually, the Internet, more than ever, has become our bridge to the outside world.  It is an economic lifeline to workers who are fortunate enough to do their jobs from home. It connects us to the news of the world. It helps sick patients hoping to chat with a doctor via a video appointment. It provides entertainment and critical education to our young people. But the harsh reality is that broadband isn’t available to everyone. According to the Federal Communications Commission, high-speed internet is unavailable to roughly 25 million Americans and more than 19 million of those Americans live in rural communities. Nearly one in five Americans only have access to the internet through smart phones.  Although these numbers have improved in recent years, the gaps remain prevalent, despite the fact that internet service has become as critical as a phone or electricity in our homes.

This inability to build digital infrastructure has intensified the divide between urban and rural areas. This divide has become especially evident as 44 million students across the country have been affected by school closings due to the pandemic. Schools have asked families to switch their children to online learning, but, because of a lack of broadband accessibility, millions of children are being left behind.  18 percent of children in remote rural areas have no home broadband and according to the Pew Research Center, nearly one in five students between kindergarten and 12th grade do not have computers. This aspect of the digital divide is referred to as the “homework gap” and is an academic encumbrance for young people who lack access to digital technologies at home. Black teens, as well as those from lower-income households, are especially likely to face these school-related problems as a result.

Who will fix these problems?  How fast? When? We are so very fortunate to have one of the world’s foremost experts on the challenges, scope, costs and intricacies of making broadband available to everyone with us today. Our guest on this episode, David McCourt is a “telecom revolutionary” according to The Economist, and his company, Granahan McCourt, is the largest independently owned designer and builder of telecom Public Private Partnerships in Europe and one of the most prominent investors in telecommunications globally. David has recently forged the largest Public Private Partnership in Europe to provide full-fiber to every home, farm and business in Ireland.

Sep 3, 2020

Many companies, like many people, in our country are experiencing devastation and loses…. and are panicked about the long-term implications of the coronavirus. The virtually immediate economic recession caused by the Covid-19 shutdown and subsequent global pandemic mandates have caused devastation for businesses large and small. Our very way of American life has also been threatened and changed by this humanitarian crisis. Perhaps forever.

Based on assumptions being made about the pandemic causing “the demise of commuting to work,” “the end of retail shopping,” and “the collapse of globalization,” many executives are bracing for and assuming that business operations will never be the same. According to today’s guest, survival in business, during a crisis and otherwise, is achieved by building in both the short and long term. At the same time.

David Cote is Executive Chairman of Vertiv Holdings Co, a global data center products and services provider. Previously, as CEO of the industrial giant Honeywell, he grew the company's market capitalization from around $20 billion to nearly $120 billion, delivering returns of 800 percent and beating the S&P by nearly two and a half times. In his new book, WINNING NOW, WINNING LATER: How Companies Can Win in the Short Term While Investing in the Long Term, he provides a fascinating, been-there-done-that explanation of how he deployed a series of fundamental principles and practices to transform Honeywell at a time when it was flailing and failing. David believes that the idea that CEOs must choose between winning now and winning later is wrong: They must find a way to do both. Thinking short- and long-term has to work together since you need today’s profits to fund tomorrow’s successes. His insights and lessons learned are a perfect prescription for the challenges that businesses are facing today.

Aug 20, 2020

There are many incredible people working every day that share a passion for bringing innovative healthcare solutions to large populations of people.  A new area of focus in the effort to do so is called Inclusion Health. Inclusion Health is a developing approach that aims to target extreme health and social inequities. Inclusion health focuses on target populations have common adverse life experiences and risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, imprisonment, drug addiction and childhood trauma that ultimately lead to social isolation. Subsequently, these populations have extremely poor health, multiple illnesses, and are likely to experience premature death. Likely, these people also face numerous barriers to actually accessing health services that they need.

Many times the people that become socially isolated are suffering from something called tri-morbidity: physical sickness, mental illness and addiction.

The Inclusion Health movement aims to highlight these issues and the magnitude and consequences of extreme health inequity in our society, the need for preventive and early intervention approaches, and find ways to improve access to essential health services for individuals harmed by social exclusion.

We are very fortunate to be joined on this episode by an individual that has dedicated his career to helping people that are suffering from social exclusion and all of the health issues that come with that. Stuart Fisk is a passionate and devoted healthcare provider that works to eliminate healthcare inequality.

Stuart Fisk is the Director of the Center for Inclusion Health of Allegheny Health Network and a nurse practitioner with the Positive Health Clinic at Allegheny General Hospital.

Fisk has been involved in HIV activism, research, nursing, and prevention since 1988, and has provided hospice, nursing and medical care for persons living with HIV disease since 1992. He has dedicated his career to helping socially and economically marginalized people and is often asked if his work can be disheartening. He says, that the work isn’t sad, the broken system aimed at serving people in need is disheartening.

After finishing nursing school, Stuart Fisk then worked as a hospice nurse in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district where single-room occupancy hotels served as housing for members of marginalized populations, many with HIV/AIDS who were not getting care. He credits those people for really teaching him not only how to be a nurse but more importantly how to be a human being. That dedication to people fuels his work to this day. Fisk moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 1996 and started to work with the then West Penn Allegheny Health System which is now the Allegheny Health Network. He started an HIV program in 1998.

The idea for the Center for Inclusion Health, formed in 2014, came from his desire to identify populations within the system facing significant barriers to care and change things throughout the system to better serve them.

Aug 7, 2020

In 2016, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum wrote that “like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”

He continued: “In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.”

And so the term Fourth Revolution was coined as a way of describing a future based on the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a combination of developments in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, digital platforms and other technologies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about more than just innovation-focused change. It is also an opportunity create an inclusive, human-focused future. According to Schwab, “the changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic is certainly putting this theory on change and the future of the world to the test. It has quickly forced all of us to become more reliant on technology and has put us in the position to be more open to experimenting with inventive solutions to the new problems that this global change has created. 

Even before the pandemic, today’s guest believed that the world of innovation is in need of a refresh. Alexandre (Alex)  Lazarow believes that this refresh comes from what he calls the “frontier” - - the growing constellation of startup ecosystems, outside of the Silicon Valley and other major economic centers, that now stretches across the globe. The frontier is a place where startups often must cope with political or economic instability and lack of infrastructure, and where there might be little or no access to traditional investors.

Alex has spent his career working at the intersection of investing, innovation, and economic development in the private, public, and social sectors. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation, a global firm that invests across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Previously, Alex worked with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that has invested over a billion dollars in hundreds of startups around the world. He has served as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, a financial regulator with the Bank of Canada, and an M&A investment banker with the Royal Bank of Canada. 

His new book on innovation in the future, Out-Innovate, was published by Harvard Business Review Press. It was one of the three finalists for the best book proposals exploring emerging business themes, a competition co-hosted by McKinsey and The Financial Times, organizers of the Business Book of the Year Award. Out-Innovate was named a "Top Book To Inform Your Technology And Innovation Strategy” by Forbes, “The Hottest New Business Book” by Tech Collective and was the #1 Release in Venture Capital on Amazon.

Jul 26, 2020

 As we continue to adjust to living with the uncertainty about the future and experiencing the reality that the Coronavirus pandemic is changing the world forever, we are also experiencing something else.

We are experiencing innovation.

Entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and change makers are jumping in to help. All around the world, people are shifting focus and pivoting efforts. Start-up companies began quickly using 3D printing technology to create lifesaving ventilator parts to meet unexpected, extraordinary demand. Gin distilleries shifted production to make hand sanitizer. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been quickly used to scan online articles all over the world, every day to gather and analyze public health information. Drones are delivering medical supplies to remote or quarantined areas and infectious hot zones. Video doctor appointments and telemedicine are helping patients get the care that they need, without leaving the house or putting doctors at risk of infection. Germ-killing robots are sanitizing high-traffic public areas allowing for the safety of workings while observing social distancing.

All of these technological answers have been created to solve problems…..and problem-solving is always at the heart of innovation. Although horrible and scary, a crisis presents innovators with an opportunity to think and create fast, impactful change. All while working in the service of people and organizations for the greater good and maybe even the bottom line. In the midst of a crisis, the ideal that “failure is not an option” aligns everyone’s energy toward clear purpose in resolving the crisis which prompts a groundswell of new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking.

Today we are fortunate to be joined by a world-recognized innovator that is known for inspiring out-of-the-box thinking, driving innovation, motivating engagement and generating energy toward the innovation goals of an organization. Not unlike a crisis, disruptive, innovative thinking in an organization forces change and intense effort – the speed of creative-thinking, decision making, and facilitation all surge intensely and forces an organization to quickly think differently, to fail or succeed fast, to learn, and to progress…..to innovate.

Alex Goryachev is an entrepreneurial go-getter. He takes risks, thinks ahead, and loves making way for new innovations. Over the past 20 years, he’s made it his business to turn disruptive concepts into emerging business models. In his new book, Fearless Innovation: Going Beyond the Buzzword to Continuously Drive Growth, Improve the Bottom Line, and Enact Change, Alex explores how, no matter their function, leaders and managers can cut through the noise to understand change and deliver real results.

For him, it’s all about a passion to create a strategy and then drive it home to “get things done.” And as Cisco’s Senior Director of Innovation Strategy and Programs, he has plenty of opportunities to put this passion to the test. He sparks internal innovation by providing employees at all levels the chance to share their big ideas, many of which make their way into the company’s innovation engine. Alex also carries the torch for co-innovation across Cisco’s ecosystem.

At Cisco, Alex spearheads several award-winning international programs and initiatives to accelerate innovation – whether that impacts operations, businesses processes, or technology. Alex is an award-winning Silicon Valley veteran whose resume reads like a brief history of tech disruption. He is a sought-after speaker on innovation and a regular contributor to Forbes, Chief Executive Magazine, Information Week, and other leading media outlets.

Jul 18, 2020

The complexities of disease require sophisticated approaches for understanding and treating them. On Innovation Unleashed, we often introduce listeners to the latest approaches and technology solutions for big global challenges. On today’s episode, we are going to  explore Computational Healthcare,  an emerging method of using computer models and sophisticated software to figure out how  human disease develops - - - - and how to prevent it. Using digital tools, computational biologists leverage experimental and clinical data to build models that can unravel complex medical mysteries through quantitative approaches for understanding the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of human disease through applications of mathematics, engineering and computational science.

Central to the challenge of how to use computers to improve healthcare is to develop computational models of the molecular biology, physiology, and anatomy of disease. Computational Healthcare can provide insight into and across many areas of biology, including genetics, genomics, molecular networks, cellular and tissue physiology, organ systems, and whole body pharmacology.

Close your eyes for a moment (unless you are listening while you are driving) and think of your kitchen table…imagine a half made puzzle of a picture of a snowy landscape.  Now complete the puzzle in your mind.  You can see the whole picture, even though you only started with an idea and half the pieces in place.  Computers can look into every aspect of biology and medicine…see how the pieces come together and tell us how to build the puzzle.   Computational medicine gives us enough of the pieces to see a much clearer view of the big picture of what causes disease and how to treat it.  Computers have changed every aspect of our lives…today we are going to have a chance to learn how they will change our health and wellbeing.

Today’s guest not only uses computational medicine to lead research to solve big healthcare problems, he also works to educate the next generation of scientists in this field. Dr. Chris Langmead is a Professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Computational Biology Department. He is a globally-recognized Computer Scientist with expertise in Machine Learning as well as modeling and simulating biological systems. His work stretches from drug and protein design … to clinical applications in acute and chronic illness. Dr. Langmead’s research is focused on the development and application of passive and active machine learning algorithms to address critical challenges in Medicine and Bioengineering.

Jul 9, 2020

Innovation demands trialing and attempts to change entire industries with novel approaches. By nature, innovation is immersed in unusual levels of risk and failure. Typically, we associate entrepreneurs with the ability and fearlessness of facing risk and failure to build innovative technology solutions and companies. But building and leading an innovative future-reaching healthcare organization within a system also requires a certain fearlessness and a similar spirit or an INTRApreneurial spirit.  An intrapreneur is defined as “a person within a large organization who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.”  But unlike an entrepreneur, an intrapreneur doesn’t own the product or service that they innovate; the system or organization owns the creative ideas and end products created by the individual(s). INTRApreneurs in healthcare organizations often do this work as part of a calling to help society, create solutions, change industries and impact humanity. This episode’s guest is an Intrapreneur working on the cutting edge of healthcare innovation and has spent her career matching her passion of caring for patients with a desire to implement novel technology solutions to create tools for better patient care at the right time and place.

Dr. Tufia Haddad is an Associate Professor of Oncology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, and a Consultant in the Department of Oncology. Her clinical practice and research program is dedicated to breast cancer. She currently serves as the Chair of Digital Health for the Department of Oncology and Chair of the Breast Medical Oncology Practice at Mayo Clinic Rochester. She is the Medical Director of Remote Patient Monitoring services for the Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care, and she is a member of the Mayo Clinic Advisory Board to the Office of Augmented Human Intelligence. As an oncologist and clinical investigator, she is an active member of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Women’s Cancer Research Program, and she has received federal funding in support of biomarker discovery and early phase clinical trials in drug-resistant breast cancer. In the field of digital health, her interest is in the transformation of healthcare delivery models and development of clinical decision support with novel connected health and artificial intelligence technology solutions.  Dr. Haddad has authored over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and editorials.

Dr. Haddad received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology, magna cum laude, from Marquette University. She completed medical school at Creighton University and is an Alpha Omega Alpha honor society member. Her Internal Medicine residency was completed at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota), and her fellowship in Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota. She received student humanitarian, individual excellence in medicine, and teaching awards throughout her training, as well as several educational excellence awards while on faculty at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Jun 24, 2020

In everyday life, when we use the word Crisper we are likely referring to something that keeps produce fresh in the refrigerator…or something to do with the marketing of the beloved potato chip. But in the scientific and healthcare world, it is shorthand for "CRISPR-Cas9 and stands for "clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats." CRISPR is possibly the most impactful area of science to be invented since the discovery of DNA.  We are going to learn more about CRISPR, but to do so we just need to remember that DNA is the molecule in all cells that codes for life … and sometimes death.   Within many kinds of bacterial cells, some sequences have a unique feature…they read the same in one direction as they do in another. It turns out that there are some molecular scissors that have evolved to cut these sequences … and some remarkable scientists have learned how to take those enzymes and re-program them to cut and edit almost any piece of DNA.  When you mistype a word on your phone, you or autocorrect and make things right…in the same way CRISPR technology can make things right when targeted to a specific genetic problem.  Molecular biologists of my generation were brought up to think this was impossible…but today, through the work of pioneers that will surely win a Nobel Prize, Genome editing is much more than possible…it is central in how we think about solving some of the world’s most vexing problems.  

CRISPR allows researchers to easily alter the DNA in ways that can correct genetic defects, treat and prevent diseases, help combat opioid addition and even improve the ways that we grow food.

With all this incredible promise, though, genome editing desperately needs proactive versus responsive ethical debate. As we have discussed before on Innovation Unleashed…where there is a light…there are shadows…CRISPR can do immense good…but will also do immeasurable harm when misused.  Shifting the balance from shadows to light needs pioneers who understand how to harness the good without pretending that there could be bad.

We are fortunate to be able to talk about all of this with an emerging expert on all things Genome Editing. Dr. Samira Kiani is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. Samira launched her own lab in 2016 after time at MIT where she worked on developing synthetic gene circuits to reprogram the function and behavior of mammalian cells using CRISPR.  In addition to her research work, Samira is passionate about people and how science affects their quality of life. Since 2017, she has been working on a documentary film about what our future looks like in the eye of genomic revolution. In parallel with the documentary film, she is building a communication platform called, “Tomorrow Land,” where she invites people, whether they are scientists or artists or the general public, to submit their opinions about how CRISPR is shaping the future of humanity. She is archiving short video clips that can be arranged together with the help of artificial intelligence. 

Jun 8, 2020

A remarkable team called BrainX comprised of physicians and technology innovation managers from Cleveland Clinic have partnered with machine learning experts from Carnegie Mellon University to explore and solve the puzzles of the human brain while also working to create the next generation of Artificial Intelligent applications for healthcare.

This team advanced through the prestigious IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, a $5 million global competition challenging teams to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful Artificial Intelligence technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges. This competition is designed to show all of us how far we can go in undertaking cancer, poverty, climate change and more – with the help of Artificial Intelligence.

We are so fortunate to have the Founder of BrainX with us today to talk about his work leading innovation efforts that integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence in healthcare. This team of experts is constantly working on the evolving issues that are most important to patient care and have added COVID-19 datasets and  challenges to their important work.

The expert on this episode, Piyush Mathur MD, FCCM is the founder and team lead of BrainX. He is an Anesthesiologist, Intensivist and the quality improvement officer for Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic. He is a leader in quality and patient safety who has innovated and successfully implemented many algorithms and tools in electronic health records such as difficult airway identification (EPIC),anesthesia awareness alert (DSS, Talis), antibiotic alert (ACG, Talis). Recipient of 3 innovation awards at Cleveland Clinic, he is leading innovation efforts integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence in healthcare. Current, projects include AIDE (Artificial Intelligence Diagnosis Engine), SALUS (robotic artificial intelligence patient safety system), BRAINS (Biologically Relational Artificial Intelligence Networking System).

May 28, 2020

Telemedicine is a big business; by 2025, it has been projected to exceed $64.1 billion in the U.S. alone. Televisits to doctors have increased at an extraordinary rate of 50% per year over the last decade and the current COVID-19 Shelter-at-Home requirements have changed everything. The Pandemic has forced primary care and specialty clinicians to adopt virtual care and telehealth so patients can still receive care while social distancing and medical resources can be redirected to the frontlines of treating COVID-19 patients. Because of this, the U.S. telehealth market is expected to reach around $10 billion by the end of 2020 with an 80 percent year-over-year growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent reports.

Video and other forms of technology are increasingly being used in hospitals. In 2017, three quarters of hospitals in the U.S. were connecting with patients and other practitioners in this way, more than double the percentage in 2010.  The total Global number of televisits per year is approaching 10 million.  But…is telemedicine cost effective, is it time saving…and most importantly is it as effective as an inpatient visit…and where do we place the boundaries around this emerging field.  Some policy makers define telehealth as using technology so medical providers and patients can work together to improve health. Perhaps that is a little broader than saying “telehealth is the use of technology to deliver care to a patient without the physical presence of the treating physician”.

It makes sense that when doctors and patients are more connected in real-time and patients become more engaged in their healthcare decision-making process there can likely be better care outcomes, less return visits to the hospital, happier patients, and more profitable medical organizations. So…how do we separate the hype from the hope?  Well obviously, we talk to a real expert, and not a virtual expert…we talk to Dr. Jay Sanders

Known to many as the “Father of Telemedicine”, our guest on this episode, Dr. Jay Sanders was responsible for developing the first State-wide telemedicine system, the first Correctional telemedicine program, the first Tele-homecare technology, called “The Electronic House Call”, and the first Telemedicine kiosk. His consulting activities have included NASA, DOD, HHS, the VA, the FCC, State Governments, the Southern Governors Association, WHO, academic institutions, investment firms, Fortune 500 companies, and International Governments. In 1994, he introduced telemedicine’s capability to the Assistant Secretary of Defense that culminated in the initiation of the use of this technology within DOD. He was subsequently asked to serve as the sole civilian representative on the DOD Telemedicine Board of Directors with the Surgeon Generals of the Army, Navy and Air Force. During the Clinton Administration he represented the USA to the G8 nations for telemedicine, and was appointed by former HHS Secretary Leavitt, to the Chronic Care Workgroup.

Dr. Jay H. Sanders, is the CEO of The Global Telemedicine Group and Professor of Medicine (Adjunct) at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

May 18, 2020

As the world holds it collective breath and faces the fear and uncertainty of a “silent enemy” that has turned the world upside down, companies have had no choice but to develop work-from-home structures to keep their organizations running and support employees as they follow social distancing guidelines.  Over half of U.S. employees (75 million workers) hold jobs and have responsibilities that could be performed, at least in part, from home. Most of us would never have said we could function alone in our living room…but it turns out that we can.  We keep hearing the phrase, “no one ever thought this could happen”…but of course people have been thinking of these things for a long time. 

Before the pandemic and subsequent government requirements mandated us to be at home, only 4% of the workforce actually worked from home.   And before the devastating pandemic, although 70% of employers would offer work at home options to some employees, only 7% offered it most of their employees. Likely, now that the world has been working from home in mass, things are going to change. We are not as convinced that we need to sit together to be effective.  There is something incredibly scary about that realization…particularly if it is true!

Folks that have been thinking about whether working at home is functional are as shocked as we are that around the globe, within just a few months, over a billion people have functioned from home…running businesses, doing their jobs, ordering food…basically every facet of life, it turns out, is accessible from home… once the misery is over…will this be a tipping point?   A new normal?  Are the futurists who dreamed of these days ready for the reality?

The only way to successfully drag ourselves out of this disaster is with courage.  The courage to lead when we know how, the courage to follow the right leaders and the courage to persevere.  Courage will define whether we are successful. The new normal is also going to require us to become even more innovative.  The only business culture that will have even a chance of survival shift will demand a commitment to creating a culture where individuals are more empowered to contribute to the overall mission of the organization by speaking up and being heard.

If ever someone skated to the puck and wrote about the tools and ideas for tomorrow’s challenge, without actually knowing that tomorrow would become today overnight, it is this episode’s guests.  Karin Hurt and David Dye have written about their approach to organizational success: A Courageous Culture.  According to Karin and David, there is a breakdown in organizations that stifles innovation. Employees have ideas and leadership is interested in these ideas but somehow, there is a disconnect.  Karin and David believe that the collective effect of thousands of small opportunities missed because employees didn’t speak up when they realized something wasn’t working or didn’t share an idea because they worried that it might not be a good one, creates opportunities for failure. They believe that eliminating the safe silence that results from not speaking up and not contributing to the mission of the organization can help organizations thrive and innovate.  Perhaps working from home will empower the silent innovators into active participation?

May 1, 2020

 Just before the CIVID-19 pandemic paralyzed the world, Innovation Unleashed had the opportunity to sit down with Kristen Finne, the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, emPOWER Program in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. At that time, we were not yet talking about this specific disease outbreak but we were talking about Kristen’s work as one of the dedicated public servants who work around the clock to ensure that, for example, our health care system can respond to a sudden tidal wave of need.  Preparing for how such events might impact the old, frail, and disabled communities.  She is one of the people that we rely on in an emergency, but who we hope we never need.

The relevancy of what was discussed with Kristen, on that day, has certainly taken on new meaning and significance for all of us as we are sheltered at home deciding about the right timing for returning to work and life with COVID-19 as part of our new normal.

Health officials, health care providers, emergency managers, and first responders have always worried that they did not have access to enough accurate information that could help them respond to the needs of at-risk populations in their communities. So, just a few years ago in the US the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response was established by the Federal Government to make sure we were ready.  The emPOWER Program was launched to get the data to the right people at the right time.  And we are talking about a lot of data and the skills to understand what it means before and after a disaster.  Public health stakeholders can now use the program’s national, data-driven tools to support targeted emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities for more than 4.1 million at-risk Medicare beneficiaries.

This kind of massive data mining and essential information delivery does not just happen. The need was urgent for a long time before the innovations necessary to respond effectively. What were the challenges in gathering the information?  How did politics impact the data science?  Where were the biggest gaps in knowledge?  What can be learned from the barriers to progress to speed responses in the future?   One of the best ways to get answers to those and other compelling questions would be to go right to the top. 

In this episode, Kristen describes how she spends her days assessing disaster-induced stress on the health care system and develops interventions to mitigate health system surge and adverse health outcomes for at-risk populations. Kristen leverages federal health and innovation technologies to provide Medicare data, maps, tools, training and products to inform and support federal-to-community level emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation activities for electricity and healthcare dependent beneficiaries that live independently and may be adversely impacted by a disaster.

Apr 23, 2020

It is an understandably frightening time for all of us because nothing like this has happened in our lifetime.

The measures we are taking are unprecedented in recent history - -hospitals are overwhelmed, businesses are being categorized as life-sustaining/essential businesses or non-essential businesses, people are quarantined, schools are closed, sports teams aren’t playing, vacations are canceled, family gatherings rescheduled. Businesses and individuals are being faced with the decision to weigh risk based on personal harm and the greater good.

 It is a time where we need trusted leadership. Yet at a time when we need to have trust we don’t.  The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that despite a strong global economy and near full employment before the pandemic, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures—government, business, NGOs and media—is trusted. Government, more than any institution, is seen as least fair; 57 percent of the general population say government serves the interest of only the few, while only 30 percent say government serves the interests of everyone. Edelman explains that the cause of this paradox can be found in people’s fears about the future and their role in it, which are a wake-up call for our institutions to embrace a new way of effectively building trust: balancing competence with ethical behavior.

The guest on today’s episode is Dr. Jessica Foster. She’s a Partner with RHR International and serves as Global Leader for the company’s Executive Bench practice area. She is an expert at recognizing, developing and positioning executives for leadership roles. 

Jessica is an industrial psychologist and previously served as a professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Purdue University. Her research, teaching, and speaking engagements are focused in the areas of employment testing, gender and leadership, executive performance and emotional regulation, and work-life balance. Jessica received her doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology from Rice University in Houston, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina.

Jan 17, 2020

With global population on track to reach 10 billion within a few decades, and with travel and trade steadily intensifying across the world, the spread of many types of infectious disease (like the Flu and worse) is a real and increasing threat to global health. 

Rapidly detecting, reporting, and responding to infectious disease occurrence is required to contain small outbreaks before they have the opportunity to spread into a regional epidemic or become a global pandemic threat. The Flu is the most likely infectious disease to cause a severe pandemic. The chances of a devastating outbreak may seem slim, but the level of devastation if it occurred is almost unimaginable.  Every year there is about a 1% chance that an influenza pandemic could emerge…and that if it did it would cause more than 6 million pneumonia and influenza deaths globally. Flu pandemics have happened before…we are just waiting for the next one to arrive. But fortunately, some innovators are solidly focused on how to detect the problem so that the impact could be controlled.

Our safety and the rapid detection of infectious disease depends on effective disease surveillance systems gathering data from multiple sources and places. Equally important is how fast a system can detect a threat of disease to prompt earlier response and the best chances for protecting all of us from the spread of illness and potential death. 

On this episode, Kevin Hutchinson, will share how he has spent his career gathering and analyzing data and working alongside health organizations to monitor and identify possible health threats. 

Nov 26, 2019

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, is perhaps the most well-known biological molecule. DNA is present in all forms of life on earth. Essentially, every cell in our bodies contains DNA or the genetic instructions - or code - that makes us what we are. DNA has a unique double helix shape, like a twisted ladder and carries these instructions or code for the development, growth, reproduction, functioning and health of all life. Remarkably, if all of the DNA in a human body was unraveled, it would reach to the sun and back more than 300 times.

The code in DNA is determined by the order of the four nucleotide bases that make up DNA, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine and is the complete set of genes and is called a genome.

As the National Human Genome Research Institute works to unlock the secrets of the human genome, researchers continue learning that nearly all diseases that we face have a genetic component. Some diseases are caused by mutations that are inherited from parents and are present in an individual at birth, like sickle cell disease, for example. Other diseases are caused by acquired mutations in a gene or group of genes that occur during a person's life. Such mutations are not inherited from a parent, but occur either randomly or due to some environmental exposure like pollutants. Today’s guest is working tirelessly to create therapies to treat genetic diseases. Specifically, Monogenic diseases.

As defined by the World Health Organization, Monogenic diseases result from modifications in a single gene occurring in all cells of the body. Though relatively rare, they affect millions of people worldwide. Researchers estimate that over 10,000 of human diseases are known to be monogenic. Pure genetic diseases are caused by a single error in a single gene in the human DNA.

As you can gather from my brief description, working to treat genetic diseases is complicated, demanding work and requires the commitment and intellectual power of people who are dedicated to finding answers. Today’s guest Scott Sneddon is one of those people. Scott is the President & CEO of Sharp Edge Labs. He is an entrepreneur and scientist trained in chemistry and biology with an emphasis on computational methods. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry & Biophysics from Carnegie-Mellon University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School and has over 20 years of experience in the drug discovery industry, having held leadership positions at Pfizer and Genzyme. At Pfizer Dr. Sneddon was a member of the New Leads Discovery group under innovator Fred Vinick. He then went to Genzyme with Fred to help establish Genzyme's small molecule drug discovery program. There he led the Assay Development and High Throughput Screening group and was a pioneer in implementing high-throughput functional cellular assays for primary drug screening (before such a thing was fashionable).

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