March 22, 2024

UAB Health System leads showcase at USASBE annual conference

Written by

usasbe iconThe United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) recently held its annual conference in Birmingham, Alabama, from Jan. 9-14, 2024. Hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) J. Frank Barefield, Jr. Entrepreneurship Program, the event, titled USASBE 2024: Forging the Future Together, brought together educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs from across the country and featured many team members from the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and UAB Medicine.

On Jan. 11, the UAB Health System hosted an on-campus ‘health care innovation showcase’ for 25-30 innovation and entrepreneurship educators as an available breakout session for conference attendees. What made this event particularly notable was most of the participants' lack of prior health care innovation experience, with only a small percentage having prior knowledge of UAB.

The showcase, emceed by Melissa Mancini, associate chief innovation officer and associate vice president of Strategy and Business Development at the UAB Health System, and Jose Flores, associate director of Innovation for the Marnix E. Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation, focused on four main topics at the forefront of health care innovation:

  • Intrapreneurship models in large organizations
    • Lead by Steven Rothenberg, M.D., assistant professor, UAB Department of Radiology
  • AI in Medicine: current clinical applications
    • Lead by Andrew Smith, M.D., Ph.D., former clinical director of AI, Marnix E. Heersink Institute of Biomedical Innovation; former professor and vice chair of Innovation, UAB Department of Radiology
  • Telehealth/eMedicine
    • Lead by Eric Wallace, M.D., medical director for Telehealth, UAB Health System; associate director for Telehealth Initiatives, Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health; professor, UAB Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine
    • Lead by Bart Kelly, executive director of Telehealth, UAB Health System
  • AR/VR/XR: possibilities and current state
    • Lead by Dorothy Ogdon, head of Emerging Technology and System Development and associate professor, UAB Libraries

usasbe 2024“Hosting groups like USASBE allows UAB to learn from others and promotes diversity of thought,” said Flores. “In this showcase specifically, the USASBE audience learned from UAB physicians and innovators about the benefits of working under an intrapreneurial umbrella like UAB Health System. In the era of burnout, people want to learn from organizations that are finding ways to engage and empower employees thoughtfully and intentionally.”

The showcase highlighted the power of intrapreneurship support in a large organization and the benefits it provides to both the innovator and the organization. It also underscored UAB’s national expertise and leadership in emerging disciplines within the field. Participants walked away with a deeper understanding of the transformative potential of health care innovation and the crucial role of intrapreneurship in driving organizational change.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to showcase the incredible work being done here at UAB,” stated Mancini. “In addition, being able to demonstrate the alignment of our strategic commitments with not only the work of today but the possibilities of tomorrow provides an incredible runway for continued innovation within the system.”

The innovation institute’s executive director, Rubin Pillay, M.D., Ph.D., was also featured as a keynote speaker at the conference and discussed “Revitalizing Healthcare: The Imperative of Entrepreneurial Ingenuity.” Pillay is also the assistant dean for Global Health Innovation at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and chief innovation officer for the UAB Health System.