Senior director, UCLA Health Research & Innovation and co-executive director, UCLA Biodesign
Horse-Grant launched the UCLA Health Innovation Challenge, which links patient-centered technology ideas with funding sources. More than 300 team submissions have been evaluated and over $1.1 million and in-kind resources have been awarded to 37 patient-centered technologies and programs. She also co-created the UCLA Biodesign Program, a fellowship that brings care providers, engineers and business executives together to develop new technologies.
How do you identify opportunities for innovation?
Part of my strategic plan for innovation at the health system involved building the infrastructure needed to identify and advance innovation by removing common barriers and enabling institutional alignment, offering leadership support, and providing access to resources and training. As part of this, I spent the first three months interviewing more than 300 stakeholders across UCLA Health to understand their goals, implementing a peer review process for new innovations. We created new channels for innovation, such as the UCLA Health Innovation Challenge, which capitalized on existing programs, such as the nursing New Knowledge and Innovation Council to ensure leadership support of their top 10 innovations and developed a new accelerator learning track for the UCLA Biodesign Fellowship program.
What advice do you have for people who know how to get an idea in front of managers but may be afraid of failing?
Competition encourages innovation. In 2019, I launched the UCLA Health Innovation Challenge and opened it to care providers, community members and, most importantly, our patients. Ideas could be submitted across five verticals, ranging from medical devices to patient experience and performance improvement. We received and evaluated over 300 team submissions and awarded over $1.1 million plus in-kind resources to 37 peer-reviewed projects that advanced patient-centered technologies and programs.
How do you stay focused on innovation during a crisis?
No better innovation is born than out of necessity. The demands imposed by the pandemic have prompted many at UCLA to come forth with their best ideas. From our own UCLA Biodesign fellows came a low-cost ventilator prototype that could be produced at scale; a validation study of several types of 3D-printed swabs that could be rapidly produced to shore up UCLA’s supply; and support of other work at UCLA to develop reusable, durable face shields.