Teaching substance abuse researchers the value of entrepreneurship
I have had the privilege of wearing many hats in a variety of industries throughout my career, including as an entrepreneur, executive, board member, educator, inventor and investor in technology, healthcare, biotechnology and life sciences.
I have seen the development of ideas and innovations that never had the opportunity to come to fruition. There are a number of contributing factors that impact these advancements. However, one of the most frequent causes is that inventors and researchers do not have the proper experiences, training and education to advance their ideas and work from the research setting to the patient or consumer.
In addition to my role as chief innovation officer and chief medical officer of medical and digital innovation at Magellan Healthcare, I also serve as a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine. It is through my role at Yale that I have the opportunity to lead a unique training program for substance abuse researches from across the country in entrepreneurship starting next spring. The work of these scientists focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders leading to innovative options for improved care. Unfortunately, many of these innovations never reach the market because today’s scientists do not have the training in how to commercialize their ideas.
The training program, called Innovation to Impact: Translation Support and Education, is made possible through the funding of a $1.25 million grant by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Students will participate in a free five-day boot camp on entrepreneurship and product development and will also have access to an extensive network of new venture mentors, seed funding for new ventures and training in how to promote a culture of entrepreneurship locally. This will also help start what we hope will be an active community hosted virtually as well.
In addition to my work in developing apps and software programs designed to combat substance use disorders, I have also been teaching entrepreneurship for many years. This program is a logical next step to not only advance these innovations, but significantly help people with substance abuse disorders.
Open to researchers across the country who are focused on basic science, epidemiology, prevention, treatment and policy, the program will help advance innovations that impact the substance use field. This work is of the upmost importance as we face a national crisis on substance abuse. I also believe the future innovations of these researchers will soon impact our work at Magellan and the customers and members we serve.
Magellan makes it a priority to advance innovation, as evidenced by its support of my participation in this initiative with the NIH as well as dedicated resources through various innovation initiatives to help develop and commercialize new product ideas or services. It is rare that you find a private sector company like ours that is committed to allowing its executives to undertake educational activities when they fit within our massive transformative purpose of “leading humanity to healthy, vibrant lives.” I’m excited to continue to focus on collective entrepreneurial spirit with an amazing team at Yale to share our lessons with others and bring new ideas to light.