MATTER Top 10: Our favorite stories of 2021

2021 was the year following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of where anyone thought we may be two years later, there’s no doubt the healthcare community has made great strides. The MATTER community has developed new partnerships, secured funds to advance innovation projects and shared insights on addressing several of the most pressing issues facing healthcare today.

Join us as we look back at the year with some of our favorite stories of 2021.

10. mHUB, MATTER and 1871 secured a $2.78M federal grant to rebuild Illinois economy post-COVID-19 through tech and manufacturing innovation.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded a $2.78M grant to the Chicago Proactive Response, a collaboration to mobilize the tech ecosystem around leveraging technology to rebuild during COVID-19 and beyond. Now in Phase Two, the collaboration supports startups and small businesses as they build a road to economic recovery through wealth and job creation. These funds will help grow the number of startups supported by this initiative from 1,000 to 1,325.

9. SCAN Group, Cedars-Sinai and MyndYou join MATTER to discuss social isolation and loneliness in older adults.

SCAN Group CEO and President Dr. Sachin Jain, Cedars-Sinai Chief of Geriatrics Dr. Sonja Rosen and MyndYou CEO and Co-Founder Ruth Poliakine Baruchi sat down with MATTER CEO Steven Collens to discuss the issues of social isolation and loneliness, the strain it creates on older adults and the healthcare system at large, and approaches to help payers and providers manage an increasingly isolated population of aging patients.

8. MATTER received a $1.3M “Build to Scale” grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a bright light on the need and value for new healthcare innovations. With these funds, MATTER will scale our Venture Acceleration program for next-generation digital health and life sciences technologies through the launch of the Momentum Accelerator and the development of a proprietary platform to deploy our incubation offerings and resources.

7. MATTER partnered with Inflect Health to provide MATTER startups and corporate innovators with access to Inflect Health’s expertise and network of frontline healthcare providers.

Through this partnership with Inflect Health, Vituity’s nationwide, multispecialty investment and innovation hub, the growing MATTER community will receive access to frontline providers in some of the nation’s highest-performing acute and urgent care settings, as well as mentorship and investment opportunities. MATTER’s more than 60 corporate partners will also benefit from new ways to engage around innovation initiatives.

6. Accenture, Advocate Aurora Health and the American Medical Association (AMA) joined MATTER to discuss fostering clinician well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For almost two years, healthcare heroes have put their lives on the line to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to devastating levels of stress, anxiety and burnout. In this conversation, experts from MATTER, Accenture, Advocate Aurora Health and the AMA discussed ways to improve clinician well-being.

5. MATTER received a grant from The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to further address health equity in the Chicagoland area.

The $225,000 grant will support building upon MATTER’s programs and offerings to harness Chicago’s healthcare innovation capabilities improving health outcomes in Chicago’s underrepresented communities. MATTER will develop educational offerings to support both entrepreneurs and large organizations that are building health equity solutions and developing health equity competencies.

4. MATTER and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago launched our Health Equity Innovation accelerator to advance Chicagoland businesses addressing health equity.

The eight-week, cohort-based accelerator was a joint program of the YWCA Breedlove Entrepreneurship Center and the MATTER Advancing Health Equity initiative. Through the program, ten entrepreneurs received access to mentorship, exclusive resources and interactive curriculum from subject matter experts and graduated with a validated business concept and clear roadmap to bring their solutions to market.

3. Tales from the Trenches: Sheila Mikhail, co-founder and CEO of AskBio, sat down with MATTER to share her journey as a serial entrepreneur.

Sheila Mikhail founded Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) in 2001 and set out on a mission to bring life-changing drugs to patients in desperate need. Twenty years later, Sheila is a serial entrepreneur, was named Ernst & Young’s 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year and sold AskBio to Bayer AG for $4 billion. She shared her journey as an female founder of color, advice when working with investors and more when she sat down with MATTER for our last Tales from the Trenches of 2021.

2. Startup founders discussed opportunities to increase investment in women’s health.

In a virtual conversation led by investor and serial entrepreneur Pamela York, co-founder and managing partner of Capita3, three MATTER startup members — Embr Labs CEO Elizabeth Gazda, Marani Health Founder and CEO Ann Holder and Univfy Co-founder and CEO Mylene Yao — discussed unmet needs in women’s health, investment trends and how we can increase investment in women-led startups.

1. Derek J. Robinson of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois explained why health equity matters and what to do about it.

Derek J. Robinson, MD, MBA, FACEP, CHCQM, vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, broke down the basics of health equity, how technology can help close disparities in health and healthcare and how entrepreneurs can work with other companies and community organizations to create new solutions that advance health equity.

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