The MIT Catalyst Program, VHA innovation ecosystem (VHA IE) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are collaborating to improve veteran care through needs-driven biomedical research and innovation initiatives. This month, the program welcomes a new cohort of MIT Catalyst Fellows, contributing to its mission to increase the impact of biomedical research and create innovative solutions for unmet healthcare needs within the Veterans. Health Administration.
VHA IE is at the forefront of healthcare innovation, led by change makers who relentlessly create and improve veteran experiences. The MIT Catalyst Framework aligns with VHA IE’s goals of accelerating the pace of healthcare innovation and empowering VA employees in VHA Innovator Network (iNET), sparking innovation from insight to impact.
Participating fellows are recruited from VHA, academia and industry to form cross-functional teams. Fellows enjoy the unique opportunity to collaborate within their diverse cohorts and multidisciplinary teams to solve health problems with the goal of advancing health care globally.
The MIT Catalyst Fellowship comprises a six-month academic experience in which fellows work together to address pressing VA challenges and design collaborative solutions, with three intensification sessions. The program and intensifications provide fellows with a space to identify high priority challenges, needs and opportunities in a space to collectively generate solutions with their peers and experienced faculty and mentors.
Fellows test and refine their practical and effective proof-of-concept solutions guided by a cross-functional team of faculty and with the support of VHA IE programs such as iNET’s Greenhouse Initiative, Spark- Innovation Investment Program Seed-Spread (Spark-Seed-Spread Program), and the dissemination of excellence. Fellows can enhance their careers and broaden their personal horizons through the program by exercising entrepreneurial thinking and strengthening their communication skills while collaborating with the best and brightest to solve health problems and advance health care at worldwide. While many of the fellows’ projects are in the early stages of the Catalyst process, successfully established projects include a device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and a recently funded Spark-Seed Spread program project linked to effective disposal of unused opioids. .
Martha Duffy, MD, MPH – Interprofessional Advanced Fellow in Substance Abuse Treatment and Primary Care Physician, VA Boston Healthcare System (HCS)
Akshar B. Abbott, MD – Ophthalmologist, Veterans Affairs VISN 23 Eye Care Services Program
Aparna Repaka, MBBS – Staff Physician, Gastroenterologist, VA Boston HCS
Amos Raymond, MD – Deputy Chief, Emergency Department, Memphis VA Medical Center (VAMC)
Lauren Kelley, PA-C – Assistant Physician, Orthopedic Surgery, Memphis VAMC
Jonathan Sherrod, MD – Staff Anesthesiologist, Memphis VAMC; assistant professor, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center; anesthesiologist, 94th Combat Support Hospital, US Army Reserve
Smitta Patel, MD, MPH, MBA – Chief Innovation Officer, Department of Mental Health, Greater Los Angeles HCS
External scholarship recipients
Sanjit Singh, BS – Mixed Reality Developer, MPLEX
Debarghya Sarkar, Ph.D. – postdoctoral researcher, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Alexander Buscher – Senior Manufacturing Engineer, Stryker Neurovascular
Zachary Buono – Biomedical Engineer at the US Army’s Center for Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies
Mani Sai Suryateja Jammalamadaka – Graduate Research Assistant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jake Drutchas – MSc candidate, MIT Integrated Design and Management