Three Teams Take Top Prizes at Inaugural Innovation Challenge

The following story originally appeared in the June 8, 2017, edition of the VUMC Reporter


Last week, Vanderbilt’s Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences hosted the inaugural RadX Innovation Challenge Pitch Event.

The three-month Innovation Challenge, cosponsored by the Department of Radiology, the Vanderbilt Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, the Wond’ry and the Evelyn Selby Stead Fund for Innovation, invited participants to develop solutions to unmet needs in health care.

The challenge culminated with last week’s Pitch Event at the Engineering Science Building, which featured presentations by 17 teams comprised of more than 90 participants from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, School of Engineering College of Arts and Sciences and the local community. Each team had three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of five judges with backgrounds and expertise in medicine, technology development, entrepreneurship and venture capital for a chance to win a $10,000 business development award.

Due to the large number and high quality of the team projects, the Evelyn Selby Stead Fund for Innovation made a surprise announcement to fund not two, but three $10,000 business development awards to the winning teams.

The winning teams and ideas were:

  • CrowdRad (Martin Jordanov et al.) — a web/mobile application that would allow radiologists to post challenging unknown cases and obtain independent answers from peers around the world.
  • Image Innovations (Allen Newton et al.) — a platform for translating medical image processing tools into the clinical practice environment.
  • RAD3D (Sumit Pruthi et al.) — 3-D printing of customized continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks for children with craniofacial abnormalities.

“It was so inspiring to see such a diverse group of enthusiastic individuals from inside and outside Vanderbilt participate in the Radx Innovation Challenge,” said Reed Omary, M.D., M.S., Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and chair of the department. “The Challenge brought people together in new ways — a form of intentional human collision-making — to enable their creativity to be directed toward unmet health care needs.”

The Pitch Event also highlighted the accomplishments of team “Not an Emergency,” whose proposal to reduce emergency department volumes was selected for sponsorship and funding by Vanderbilt University Medical Center senior leadership.

“The Innovation Challenge highlighted the great entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit that exists on campus,” said Rick Abramson, M.D., vice chair for Innovation for the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. “We feel that great things lie ahead for innovation activity at Vanderbilt.”

Allen Newton pitches Image Innovations to the panel of judges at the RadX Innovation Challenge Pitch Event