MedStar to Sponsor Fellowship for Innovative Health Solutions

‘Health For America Focuses on America’s Greatest Health Challenges.’

MedStar Health is sponsoring an entrepreneurially focused healthcare fellowship, Health For America, that will bring emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds to work among MedStar providers and partners to find innovative, sustainable solutions for more effectively managing chronic disease. Health for America, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has opened its highly competitive applications process to select four fellows for the 2015-16 program that begins in September. The fellowship seeks candidates with diverse academic backgrounds and professional experience.

Led by the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2), the fellows will work under the guidance of providers, entrepreneurs and other experts throughout MedStar. MI2 is working to create a vibrant innovation ecosystem across MedStar and also serves as a portal for the exchange of transformational ideas and solutions, both internally and from the outside world. Mark Smith, MD, director of MI2 and MedStar’s chief innovation officer says, “As part of our journey to help create health care of the future, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with these Health For America fellows. MI2 is founded on the principle that for health care to be transformed, we must also look outside our own walls—and those of our traditional collaborators.”

The fellows will work at MI2’s headquarters and across a broad range of MedStar’s healthcare delivery settings, and also will draw on the support at Washington, D.C.’s premier start-up incubator and seed fund, 1776, of which MedStar is a Founding Partner. “Startups are increasingly at the forefront of efforts to make health care more efficient and cost effective,” says Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776. “We’re thrilled to partner with MedStar and Health For America, and look forward to seeing what the 2015 class of fellows comes up with.”

The 2014 class of fellows focused on congestive heart failure, which accounts for one in nine deaths each year in the United States and is a major cause of hospital readmissions. Working within Christiana Care health system in Wilmington, Del., they developed a low-cost, effective solution for measuring and reporting daily weight measurements, a surrogate measure of fluid retention that can indicate when heart failure symptoms may be getting out of control. After extensive interactions with patients and clinicians, the fellows designed a bathroom scale that doubles as a bathmat and automatically weighs the patient and tracks each day’s results using a mobile app so results can be shared seamlessly with their providers.

“The Health for America fellows are creating solutions that can save tens of thousands of lives and alleviate the heavy financial burden carried by patients and healthcare providers,” says Madhura Bhat, co-founder of Health For America. “Thanks to the unparalleled access the fellows have to the healthcare system, along with the training, mentorship and support they receive, these young leaders are able to translate their energy and ideas into impactful solutions.”

About MedStar Health and the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2)

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. The MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) was chartered by Ken Samet, President and CEO of MedStar, in 2009 to serve as a catalyst and seed crystal for innovation across the entire MedStar organization. The scope of activities at MI2 include initiatives in human factors engineering; simulation training; digital health and data science; technology development and commercialization; and systems of care delivery. For more information, visit

About 1776

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that believes startups can change the world and is building the global platform to provide them with the intellectual, social and financial capital to make that a reality. Unlike any other startup incubator in the world, 1776 is focused exclusively on driving startups that disrupt the most broken, entrenched sectors that impact millions of lives every day—education, energy and sustainability, health, transportation and cities.

1776 was founded in January 2013 by Donna Harris, a serial entrepreneur and former Managing Director of the Startup America Partnership, and Evan Burfield, founder of netDecide, a provider of enterprise wealth management solutions, and the consulting firm Synteractive. Together, they bring the 1776 community their expertise at the intersection of innovation and regulated industries, their experience as startup founders and investors, and the insights critical for startups to thrive in this environment. For more information, visit or follow at @1776.

About Health for America

Health for America is an audacious attempt to use America’s greatest strength – entrepreneurship — to address its greatest challenge – health.  By granting fellowships to recent college graduates from diverse academic backgrounds, Health for America catalyzes the creation of innovative solutions to improve the health of communities while shaping the next generation of leaders. Learn more at

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Ann Nickels
Assistant Vice President
PR & Communications
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