Innovation Cohort


The Innovation Cohort empowers care team members across MaineHealth to advance the “back of the envelope” ideas that address the unmet care needs they see every day. This 8-week program convenes a small group of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals as they embed themselves and their identified project in innovation science, user discovery, prototyping, and intellectual property considerations.

Collaborative brainstorming and feedback fuels project breakthroughs and challenges perspectives. An encouraging environment teaches participants how to ask the right questions and connect with innovation colleagues.


Fall 2021 Innovation Cohort Applications Open:
June 23, 2021 to August 4, 2021 at 12:00pm

Apply Online

Innovation Cohort Application

If accepted, attendance is required for the four Innovation Cohort meetings on the following Thursdays from 7:00-8:00am:

  • October 7, 2021
  • October 21, 2021
  • November 4, 2021
  • November 18, 2021
Fall 2020 Innovation Cohort participants [from left] Alex Gingrich, Nancijean Goudey, RN and Will Connolly, RN

2020 Innovation Cohort participants (from left) Alex Gingrich, Nancijean Goudey, RN and Will Connolly, RN.

Dr. Obi Nwanna-Nzewunwa sharing his early stage prototype for Lediscan

2019 Innovation Cohort participant Dr. Obi Nwanna-Nzewunwa sharing his early stage prototype for Lediscan, a device to identify and treat pre-cancerous cervical lesions.


Applications are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team. Proposed projects are evaluated against core and additional criteria.

Core Criteria: 

  • Need: Does this novel solution address an unmet care need?
  • Approach: How is this solution novel or innovative?
  • Benefit: How does this novel solution impact more than one of the MaineHealth strategic priorities of patients, people, population and value?
  • Competition: Does this novel solution exist within a larger commercial market or within the MaineHealth system? If so, how is this solution different?  
  • Team + Expertise: Is there a passionate and engaged team supporting this novel solution? Is there a MaineHealth champion associated with the team? Does this team have the right expertise or can they identify the expertise needed to build a stronger team?   

Additional Criteria:

  • Market and Size of Opportunity: What market(s) could benefit from this novel solution and/or what is the size of the opportunity to impact MaineHealth and its communities?
  • Commercialization and/or Scalability Potential: Is there potential for the commercialization of this novel solution? Is there potential for this novel solution to be scaled across the MaineHealth system?
  • Follow-On Funding: How might the novel solution generate additional external or departmental follow-on funding after the program period?
  • Cost Savings: How might this novel solution create cost savings
    for the MaineHealth system?
  • Workforce Development: How might this novel solution advance the professional and/or career development of its team members?
  • Community Economic Impact: How might this novel solution have a positive impact on the economic growth and development of our community?
  • Diversity, Equity + Inclusion: How might this novel solution advance MaineHealth DEI strategies?
  • Scholarly Activity: How might this novel solution be disseminated through publications and or/research?
  • Departmental Support: Does the team have the support of their immediate MaineHealth department leaders to work on this novel solution?

Review Process:

  • MaineHealth Innovation Team and multi-disciplinary review committee will review applications based on the criteria above
  • Selected applicants will be asked to interview with the Innovation team to ensure projects align with the Cohort experience

You may include some budget information in your application.

Each Innovation Cohort usually includes 4-6 projects. Some projects are led by a single innovator, while other projects have a project team of several innovators.

The Innovation Cohort is offered to all care team members across the MaineHealth system, so we expect to receive many applications.

The bi-weekly meetings are intended to help you and other Innovation Cohort project teams talk through project needs. The bi-weekly meetings will review  innovation science, user discovery, prototyping, and intellectual property considerations. Guest speakers may include alumni from previous Cohorts to provide lessons learned and best practices, as well as experts in prototyping and intellectual property.


Bethany Sweet, CCLS – Child Life Specialist
Project: 3D-Printed “Port-a-Catheter” for Patient Education

Larry Marcus, MD, MS – ENT Physician
Telehealth ENT Consult Device

Michael Zubrow, MD – Pediatrician
Point of Care Ultrasound Tele-Training

Tracie Barbour, CHSOS & Chris DiLisio – Simulation Specialists
Project: Refined Pessary Implant for Simulation Training

Alex Gingrich –  Dir. Nutrition, MBH
Project: MaineHealth food truck/mobile food pantry

Kyle Reed – Respiratory Therapist
Project: Improved facility for end of life care

Lauren Boehm, MD – Resident
Project: Food sodium tester

Mary Ottolini, MD, MEd, MPH – Chair of Pediatrics
Michael Ferguson, MD – Pediatrician
Project: Neonatal Resuscitation Training Simulation w/ Augmented Reality

Nancijean Goudey, RN, MPH – Nursing Director
Project: Anti-strangulation undergarment

Sara Cox, CNRN – Patient Navigator
Project: The Johnny Jumper

Susan Speckhart, MD – Physician
Project: Cancer Survivors

Theodore Wissink, MD – Physician
Project: Group Visit

Will Connolly, RN – Nurse
Project: Suction device to clear patient airways

Zach Tillett, MD – Resident
Project: Blue light app to mitigate brain injury

Jeffrey Halter, MD – Pediatric Surgeon
Project: Clip to Close Gastrocutaneous Fistulas

Obieze Nwanna-Nzewunwa, MD, MS – Resident
Project: See and Treat Cervical Cancer with Low Cost Device

Peter Klausmeyer, DPT – Physical Therapist
Project: Hydraulic Walker to Go Up Stairs

Alexa Craig, MD – Neurologist
Project: Oral device for infants

Christopher or Elizabeth Turner, MD – Surgeon
Project: Visual Surgical Education

Damien Carter, MD – Surgeon
Project: Fish Skin for Temporary Burn Coverage

David Hussey, MD – Resident
Project: Customization of Ostomy Applications

David Kispert, MD – Resident
Project: Needle to Reduce Infection IV Drug User

Heidi Morin, RN, MSN, MBA – Nursing Director
Project: Staffing to Match Patient Acuity in Birthing Centers

Jay Vance, MD – Resident
Project: Aortic Snorkel Clamp to Reduce AKI in Vascular Surgery

Jennifer Monti, MD – Cardiologist
Project: Catheter for Arrhythmia Treatment

Meagan Hall, LCSW – Social Worker
Project: CF Social Network

Michael Robich, MD, MSPH – Cardiac Surgeon
Project: Trocar for Chest Tube Placement

Robert Smith, MD – Infectious Disease Specialist
Susan Elias, MS, PhD – Staff Scientist
Project: Web-based tick forecasting tool

Sean Lena, DO – Resident
Katherine Rizzolo, MD – Resident
Project: Map network of services for New American

Sean Novak, MD – Radiologist
Project: 3D Pulmonary Nodule Tracking

Verity Ramirez, MD – Resident
Project: Food Genome Project