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Innovation and Commercialization in Medicine: on DOM InCMed

The word “innovation” appears almost everywhere. According to Google’s ngram word use database, the word overtook “invention” around 1970. Now, almost 50 years later, the word is used as a noun, verb and adjective- frequently as a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. Last year, our DOM leadership assigned two vice chairs of “Innovation and Commercialization.”  We are creating a multidisciplinary program to support our faculty, which we now call “InCMed.”

Our goals are to promote more than just buzz. IncMed’s mission is to make our DOM a leading engine for innovation in healthcare that can translate discoveries into marketable products that add value to the lives of our patients. Our efforts are directed towards education, engagement, enablement and empowerment.

Education: Best Practices in Innovation and Commercialization

Our faculty members are trained to provide medicine and to make discoveries fundamentally important to health. Yet, true innovation results only when inventions can be translated into our system, through commercial development of products or practices:

Innovation involves Invention + Implementation

We’re working with our colleagues in Carey Business School, Business Development Office and Technology Ventures to develop educational programs of value to DOM faculty. In the next several months, look for Medicine Matters Best Practice posts on relevant topics, ranging from Disclosing Intellectual Property to Business Strategies.

Engagement:  Look beyond technology into needs, opportunities and processes

Most of us don’t wake up in the morning declaring the intention to “innovate today.” Yet, we do it- or have opportunity to do it- everyday. It’s a process that starts with recognizing a need, whether at the lab bench or the bedside. This may represent product development (drugs, devices or diagnostics), or establishing tools and processes to improve healthcare delivery. Each glitch in our complex, fragmented healthcare delivery system is an opportunity to innovate. Engagement in the process and establishing multidisciplinary teams is critical. We are forming a larger multidisciplinary team across DOM, designed to optimize innovation in all divisions.

We are also working to engage stakeholders across JHU to enable faculty by clarifying methods, incentives for promotion and to empower innovators with networking and connections outside of JHU.

With the right teams, processes and financial supports, products and improvements follow. This leads to Enablement and Empowerment- our two last E’s.

Keep an eye out for InCMed developments through monthly blog posts (the first Monday of every month), and let us know how we can help you develop your products, pathways, Apps or ideas. Please contact me with any news or events that you would like highlighted under DOM Innovation.

-Kieren Marr, Associate Vice Chair for Innovation and Commercialization (InCMed)


Kelsey Bennett