2016 Innovation Grants Program Award Recipients

The Endocrine SocietyHormone Health Network

The Endocrine Society’s grant project will enhance the understanding of the intricacies of the endocrine system and related conditions by creating an interactive fly-through animation of the endocrine system that enables the user to take a hormone’s journey through the human body. The proposed initiative, “Hormonal Hot Spots” aims not only to educate the public on the endocrine system, but to increase the awareness of the state of endocrine-related diseases in the US. Beyond the Society’s core membership of scientists and healthcare professionals, this initiative is also designed to assess the educational needs of policy, industry, media professionals, patients, caregivers, and advocates.

In addition to offering a web-based version, The Endocrine Society will develop a mobile-friendly application in order to facilitate physician-patient communication. Further, the use of these applications in educational settings would increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of the endocrine system and its pivotal role in holistic health and wellness. The mobile application will be launched during the Society’s centennial celebration at their annual meeting, ENDO 2016 (April 1-4, 2016).

The project will provide an innovative model of education that focuses on dynamic interaction and knowledge integration. In addition, by highlighting epidemiology, health economics, and trends data within the breadth of endocrine diseases and related conditions, this program advocates for the importance of endocrine research and clinical care.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

During the 2016 grant year, NAFSA intends to design and build the first iteration of a personalized learning and career development program, the International Education Competencies Assessment and Career Planner. Their project goals include researching technology options; validating market demand; mapping professional development content; creating competency based job profiles; and designing and testing the first iteration of the program. Intended outcomes include identifying an affordable technology solution; confirming market demand and capacity to pay for the product; cataloging NAFSA’s professional development portfolio by the competencies; creating and testing competency profiles of the most common roles in the field; and creating a business plan for program. If the results of this research indicate both demand and an appropriate technology solution, NAFSA will then proceed to designing and user-testing pilot version of the program.

Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance

The Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance (The Alliance) plans to develop and implement a nationwide initiative to increase the availability of kidneys for transplant by improving processes to decrease kidney wastage among donation and transplant organizations. Nationally, there are more than 101,000 people waiting for kidney transplants and due to inefficiencies in donation and transplantation processes, over the past eight years, 20,000 kidneys have been discarded. Innovative interventions are necessary to reduce the number of kidneys lost.

The Alliance’s objectives for this initiative are to:

  • Identify nationally collected data points to determine an appropriate measure of kidney utilization and kidney wastage.
  • Identify replicable strategies to minimize kidney wastage from high performing Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) and transplant programs.
  • Create a national and collaborative initiative to adopt the recommended strategies for a testing phase.
  • Measure the impact on the number of kidneys transplanted and wasted.

By successfully completing these objectives, The Alliance will be well positioned to share and replicate the findings with the entire donation and transplantation community through national, regional and local conferences and other Alliance publications and communications. The result of this initiative will ultimately save and heal more lives because fewer kidneys will be discarded as a result of identifying the high performers and learning from their success. The success from this initiative can then possibly be expanded to help reduce other lifesaving organs from being discarded.

Sports Turf Managers Association

At what point does a sports field playing surface become unsafe for the young and amateur athletes who use it? This is the most asked question of field managers and by field managers—and one that does not have an answer, yet. The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) will use their IGP grant to explore developing an algorithm-based app to answer this question.

If the results of this exploration indicate that this app can be developed, it would dramatically change the profession. Injuries due to unsafe surfaces would virtually disappear. Risk and liability to employers and field owners would be lowered. Budgets would be driven by facts, not “make-do”, and amateur athletes could continue to pursue their dreams without fear of a field-related injury. In addition to the goal of safer fields, three specific benefits would be accorded to STMA and its members:

  • Growth in membership in STMA;
  • Respect for the STMA member as the authority on field safety; and
  • Inspiration for innovation within the industry.

STMA will access its subject matter experts in field construction and management, topography, climate/weather, fertilization, pest management, agronomy, and plant/soil sciences to determine if all of the variables that impact field surface conditions can be identified. The second piece of this project involves determining if meaningful information can be collected about the number of games, practices and events held on fields and the corresponding injury rates. The final piece is to determine if a mathematician can develop an algorithm for a software developer to create an app. Even if the project proves unfeasible, STMA will share the new data this project generated with its membership to help them with their field management practices.

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