Tag: Mera Kitchen Collective

Social Ventures

ClearMask Wins $25,000 at Social Innovation Lab Impact+Innovation Forum

ClearMask Wins $25,000 at Social Innovation Lab Impact+Innovation Forum

 

 
As Allysa Dittmar looked up at her surgery team’s masked faces, she felt isolated. Though nobly intended to prevent the spread of bacteria, the masks acted as a different type of barrier for Dittmar, who is deaf. Unable to read her doctors’ lips or see their expressions, and thus unable to understand or communicate, she felt less than human, she says.

Drawing upon this experience, the Johns Hopkins alumnus (Krieger School of Arts and Sciences 2014, Bloomberg School of Public Health 2017) co-founded ClearMask. The venture is developing the first full-face transparent surgical mask to improve communication between health care providers and their patients — especially children, those not proficient in English and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

As the company moves toward an NIH clinical trial (early 2019), FDA approval (fall 2019) and a product launch (late 2019), April 24, 2018 may stand out as a transformative moment. On that day, ClearMask won $25,000 at the Social Innovation Lab’s Impact+Innovation Forum and $15,000 at Village Capital’s pitch competition at Gallaudet University.

Dittmar says the funding will help ClearMask get to market faster as it will enable them to refine its product and manufacturing methods to maximize efficiency as well as to facilitate meetings and participation at other events.

Photo courtesy of ClearMask
“We’ve missed out on a fair amount of opportunities because interpreters were unavailable or not provided,” Dittmar says. “We have two team members who are deaf and use sign language to communicate, including myself. With this funding, we will be able to better support our deaf members by providing sign language interpreters for ClearMask’s meetings and outreach.”

In October, the Social Innovation Lab accepted ClearMask into its 2017-2018 cohort featuring innovative nonprofits, mission-driven companies and disruptive technologies. For six months, with the support of SIL Director Alex Riehm, ClearMask and the nine other ventures received funding, mentorship, office space and workshops.

“Throughout their time with the Social Innovation Lab, the ClearMask team has never hesitated to support other startups and members of the SIL cohort,” Riehm says. “This environment is exactly what SIL does best, and I’m happy to have shared this with ClearMask.”

ClearMask received the award based on peer evaluations given throughout the six-month program whereby cohort members ranked their peers in seven categories, including empathy, progress, experimentation and generosity.

“The peer feedback process allows us to share concrete opportunities and suggestions among teams throughout the cohort period,” Riehm says. “By taking every opportunity for feedback and improvement, we can better support our SIL teams and give them a chance to identify the winning team among them.”

Though ClearMask claimed the Impact+Innovation award, the nine other SIL teams made significant strides building ventures that will impact communities in Baltimore and beyond.
 

The 2017-2018 Social Innovation Lab cohort
 
Bakku Technologies (formerly Active Bedsore Prevention System)
 
Challenge – Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, contribute to increased mortality rates and cost hospitals $11.5 billion annually.

Solution – This SIL team comprised of the winners of the 2017 Hopkins MedHacks competition and represented by Bloomberg School of Public Health master’s student Ruchee Shrestha is developing a medical device which senses and alleviates pressure to increase comfort and reduce the occurrence of bedsores and pressure ulcers.
 
BeeMore Cooperative
 
Challenge – In 2016, Maryland lost 56 percent of its bees as part of an ongoing pollinator collapse.

Solution – Led by Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, BeeMore is a beekeeping cooperative that engages community members with pollinators and healthy lifestyles, promotes urban beekeeping and creates new beekeepers in Baltimore.
 
Distribution Health
 
Challenge – Despite technological advances, health care requires a personal touch.

Solution – Led by Andrew York, Distribution Health combines cutting-edge health care technologies with compassionate personal care workers to provide individualized, high-quality care in the home.
 
The Growing Minds Initiative
 
Challenge – To provide sustainable access to education for orphaned and vulnerable children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Solution – Founded by Victoria Roberts, a Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences undergraduate student, The Growing Minds Initiative creates sustainable poultry and green vegetable farms to fund education and health care for orphaned and vulnerable children in that community.
 
HostHome
 
ChallengeA recent study showed that LGBT youth are 120 percent more likely to be homeless than straight people.

Solution – Led by Ava Pipitone and Max Goodman, HostHome is developing an accessible home sharing platform that addresses housing instability in the LGBT community.
 
Hosts for Humanity
 
Challenge – In addition to medical bills, family members and caretakers often spend thousands for hotels as their loved ones receive treatment.

Solution – Founded by Jenny Owens — a University of Maryland, Baltimore faculty member and director of The Grid — Hosts for Humanity connects families and friends of patients traveling to receive medical care with volunteer hosts who provide accommodations in their own homes.
 
Mera Kitchen Collective
 
Challenge – Policies and systems can create structural barriers that make it difficult for immigrant and refugee women to gain access to resources and opportunities.

Solution – The Mera Kitchen Collecitve is led by five worker-owners who represent and work with immigrant and refugee communitess in Baltimore, including a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health alumnus and a staff member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. As a food cooperative, they share the exceptional cuisine and stories of Baltimore’s newest neighbors.
 
Neighbour, Neighbour
 
Challenge – Trinidad & Tobago has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Solution – Led by Zindzi Thompson, a graduate student in the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Neighbour, Neighbour is developing a mobile platform that promotes in-person social interaction in environments characterized by high-levels of insecurity.
 
PIVOT
 
Challenge – For citizens returning from prison, reentry programs drop re-offense rates to under 10 percent. However, Baltimore has no women’s work release centers.

Solution – Led by Bridget Nistico and Emily Thompson, PIVOT is developing a cohort support model for women returning from incarceration, providing access to housing, transportation, mental health car, addiction treatment, job training and more. Its pilot will launch this summer.
 

Support SIL or one of its ventures!

 

News

Good News: February 2018

Good News: February 2018

 
Startup News

    • Shortly after raising $11 million in series B funding, Protenus CEO Nick Culbertson announced that the Baltimore startup plans to nearly double the size of its team. Culbertson said the 30 hires will likely be sourced locally. The FastForward startup analyzes and protects health care data for health systems across the country and saw its revenue grow twentyfold in 2017. Technical.ly

 

    • The Maryland Tech Council named two FastForward companies among the finalists for its annual Industry Awards Celebration. Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) is vying to be named Life Science Company of the Year, and its CEO Doug Ward is up for Chief Executive Officer of the Year. Protenus is a finalist for the Emerging Company of the Year award. The Maryland Tech Council will announce the winners on May 17. Maryland Tech Council

 

    • According to a synopsis from Protenus, health care organizations reported 477 data breaches to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the media. These breaches affected 5.6 million patient records. Healthcare Informatics

 

    • Inspired by his mother’s experience managing multiple chronic conditions, Sathya Elumalai is developing a portable, handheld device that records key vital signs in just 30 seconds. Elumalai is commercializing the technology through his FastForward startup Multisensor Diagnostics. TMC News

 

    • BurnAlong, a fitness startup that participated in the M-1 Ventures accelerator, announced that it raised $1 million in an oversubscribed round. Based in Owings Mills, MD, BurnAlong offers streaming fitness classes through partnerships with fitness instructors and gyms. Technical.ly

 

    • Emocha Mobile Health, a tenant in FastForward 1812, hired Thomas A. Carroll as its chief operating officer. Carroll, who co-founded RuxtonPark Healthcare Capital, will help the company expand into new markets among other duties. MobiHealthNews,Technical.ly

 

    • Fast Company named emocha Mobile Health one of its 10 most innovative businesses in the health sector, citing its technology that makes “medication management mobile-friendly.” Other brands ranked alongside emocha include CVS Health and 23andMe. Fast Company

 

    • Sunrise Health and b.well are two of 24 digital health startups participating in the Texas Medical Center Accelerator. Founded by Johns Hopkins students and a member of the Social Innovation Lab’s 2016-2017 cohort, Sunrise provides text-based group support for behavioral health patients that utilizes artificial intelligence tools. One of two winners of $25,000 at the M-1 Ventures accelerator, b.well aggregates patient health care data by providing incentivized care coordination, along with concierge and matching services. MedCity News

 

    • The St. Louis-based accelerator program Capital Innovators selected FastForward startup Vision Interchange as one of six startups in its spring investment round. The 12-week program will provide the e-commerce company that lets consumers trade eyewear with a $100,000 investment. KMOX

 
Social Ventures

    • Alex Riehm has taken over as the director of SIL. Formerly a deputy director with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Riehm assumed the SIL leadership role in November and aims to build a “continuum of service for anyone with a good idea in Baltimore.” Technical.ly

 

    • Baltimore Magazine’s list of 30 visionaries who are shaping the city’s future. The publication recognized FactoryFour CEO Param Shah for his work to bring manufacturing into the digital age. Shantell Roberts received recognition for her work through Touching Young Lives which provides safe sleeping spaces for babies. Baltimore Magazine

 

    • A member of the 2017-2018 SIL cohort, Mera Kitchen Collective has pop-up dinners, offers catering and hosts other food-focused events as a means of empowering Baltimore’s refugee and immigrant community. In a podcast, the Mera Kitchen Collective team explains Baltimore’s long-time role as a haven for refugees, the state of the city’s refugee community and how its efforts will help this population overcome barriers. Cureate

 

    • A member of this year’s SIL cohort, Hosts for Humanity matches volunteer hosts with patient families seeking a place to stay while loved ones receive care at local medical institutions. Since January 6, the venture has placed four people with hosts for a total of 40 days, saving the families over $5,600. Baltimore Business Journal (subscription required)

 
Innovation News

    • A single experimental blood test called CancerSEEK could one day enable clinicians to simultaneously screen for multiple early stage tumors. The test detected 98 percent of ovarian and liver tumors. Joshua Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine student, says the test will need to be validated in a more real-world setting. BioWorld Today

 

    • A technology that focuses ultrasound waves could be tomorrow’s solution for treating brain tumors. A group of entrepreneurs from Johns Hopkins are looking to build on the Hopkins-born idea, which would serve as an alternative to invasive surgery. The group has received $250,000 in grant funding from TEDCO and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
      Baltimore Business Journal

 
Johns Hopkins News

    • A $50 million gift from the United Arab Emirates has enabled Johns Hopkins to establish a new institute for stroke research and clinical care. The Sheikh Khalifa Stroke Institute in Baltimore will use engineering skills, artificial intelligence and precision medicine to improve diagnoses, treatments and restorative functions for stroke patients. Baltimore Business Journal

 

    • A private developer will receive $800,000 in state grants to help complete 15,000 square feet of retail space at the new Marriott Residence Inn on Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus. This is the latest investment in the East Baltimore Development Inc.’s redevelopment of the Eager Park community. Baltimore Business Journal

 

    • To kick off the spring semester, four dozen Johns Hopkins underclassmen visited workplaces across Baltimore to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in city government, health care and other industries. The tour included a visit to a FastForward U innovation hub, which provides space and co-working opportunities for student innovators and entrepreneurs. The Hub

 
Baltimore News

    • Southwest: The Magazine hailed Baltimore as “the city you’re missing” and “the most underrated city in America” in its issue released on February 1. The magazine’s editorial director touted the city’s strong entrepreneurial spirit, hip workspaces, burgeoning arts scene, friendliness and foodie scene. Baltimore Sun

 

    • The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would incentivize making early-stage investments into local startups by offering angel investors tax credits. Del. Brooke Lierman, the bill’s lead sponsor, says, “We want to make sure we can capitalize on (Maryland’s growing number of startups) and on the growing entrepreneurial spirit in Maryland.” Baltimore Business Journal, Technical.ly

 

    • Eight startups will compete for $100,000 in prizes at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Up/Start Venture Competition. The third annual event was open to class of 2018 MICA students and alumni from the class of 2017. SIL’s Alex Riehm was one of the judges who selected the finalists. The finale will occur on April 4. Baltimore Business Journal

 

    • A new innovation space in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood has begun growing a number of businesses in Baltimore. The CO-OP at Maryland Ave. opened in 2017 and already has a number of tenants, including a steel and metal broker, a carpet installer and a nonprofit. Technical.ly

 

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