Boston Children’s Hospital Hosted the Second Annual Global Pediatric Innovation Summit

Three startups competed in the hospital's version of 'Shark Tank' for a chance to win a portion of $30,000.

Daymond John moderating the Innovation Tank. Photo by Katherine C. Cohen, Boston Children's Hospital.

Daymond John moderating the Innovation Tank. Photo by Katherine C. Cohen from the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Boston Children’s Hospital held their second annual Global Pediatric Innovation Summit October 30 and 31 at the Seaport World Trade Center. This year’s event, dubbed “Taking on Tomorrow,” gathered experts from around the globe to discuss the challenges in pediatric healthcare.

Throughout the two-day event, numerous topics were discussed regarding the current state of pediatric healthcare and the challenges physicians often encounter when treating children. The panel topics included: the role of mobile and digital health in hospitals; rare diseases in children; the developmental process for successful innovations in hospitals; ways to make healthcare work for children; and the potential and opportunities for predictive analytics and big data.

In addition to informative panels, various healthcare startups competed in a Shark Tank-style competition for a chance to win a portion of $30,000. The competition, called the Innovation Tank, had Shark Tank star, Daymond John, as the moderator, along with a panel of five other judges.

The first prize was split between CareAline Products and HubScrub. CareAline Products, created by Danvers couple Kezia and Mike Fitzgerald, makes sleeves and wraps for people that have external tubes that deliver medication, called peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC), in their body. Their invention not only helps to keep the lines in place, but also provides more comfort for the individual.

The CareAline photo provided by Boston Children's Hospital.

The CareAline Wrap on the Fitzgerald’s daughter, Saoirse. Photo provided by Boston Children’s Hospital.

“The CareAline had wonderful human insight,” says Ivan Salgo, senior director of cardiology for Philips Ultrasound and a judge. “They thought about the fabrics, the lifestyle of the child, and you can see it made a difference in the child’s life.”

HubScrub, launched by Boston Children’s researchers Sarah Goldberg and Ali Ataollahi, is a cordless device that cleans the ends of catheters. “As a physician, when I was an intern I had to do all the work to clean the catheters,” Salgo says. “Having this device, for me, personally would have an impact.”

A digital version of the Hubscrub. Photo provided by Katherine C. Kohen, Boston Children's Hospital.

A digital version of the Hubscrub. Photo by Katherine C. Cohen from the Boston Children’s Hospital.

The third finalist, Kurbo Health, walked away with $5,000. Kurbo Health is an app, developed by Joanna Strober and Thea Runyan, that gives personal coaching via phone and text.

After the Innovation Tank, Catherine Rose was awarded the Rising Star Award, which honors up-and-coming innovators, for her work in pediatric healthcare. In 2010, Rose invented an interactive light product, called LightAide, as a teaching tool for children with disabilities.

Along with the award, Rose will also receive $25,000 to help advance her project.“For me, winning this award reiterates and validates that what I’ve been doing is important work,” Rose says. “I’ve always thought it was important, but this award is an external validation.”

Dr. Catherine Rose with presenter TK Photo by Katherine C. Cohen, Boston Children's Hospital.

Catherine Rose with presenter Dan Cerutti. Photo by Katherine C. Cohen from the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Rose came up with the idea for LightAide after she took her daughter Alexis, who is also deaf and blind, to the Philips Healthcare Showroom. Rose noticed that her daughter responded well to colorful lights and so worked to develop LightAide as a learning tool for children with cognitive disabilities.

“Technology and passion can change the lives of children and the families throughout the world,” Rose says. “This award is an impetus to keep going for greater change and innovation for families, caregivers, and kids.”

Also at the event, David Nathan, president emeritus of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and physician-in-chief emeritus of Boston Children’s, was honored with the inaugural Lifetime Impact Award. This award recognizes a clinician or researcher that has focused their career on innovation in pediatric medicine.

“With the selection of David Nathan as the inaugural recipient of Boston Children’s Lifetime Impact Award, we have set the bar high for this new honor,” Fenwick says, in a statement. David is the consummate patient-centered researcher who is not only a giant in the development of the field of pediatric hematology/oncology but also a superb leader and teacher.”


David Nathan with presenter Jack Andraka. Photo by Katherine C. Cohen from the Boston Children’s Hospital.