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Today, theÂInnovating for Health (i4Health) Institute launches at The University of Texas at Austin, shifting the focus of the former Drug Dynamics Institute within the College of Pharmacy. The institute exists to foster collaborative innovation both on campus, with individuals and organizations across the globe.

“Translational health science innovations are products and ideas, but can also be ways to innovate within an organization.” says Dr. Walkow, “i4Health courses, workshops and programming help learners think in new ways and understand how to innovate so that we can begin to create more novel health technology, or rewrite how things are done within an organization. There are no limits here, only possibilities.”

The i4Health program includes the Health Innovation practicum, Fundamentals of Health Innovations and the soon-to-be launched Innovation Dexterity courses and workshops that equip individuals and teams to effectively solve today’s most pressing health problems with creative solutions. Three teams of graduate students pitched solutions for improving the patient experience in healthcare, demonstrating breakthrough products designed to address cystic fibrosis, oral contraception and MRSA infections. Â

Janet C. Walkow, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and Dr. Nishi Viswanathan, M.B.B.S., M.A., MBA, Adjunct Assistant Professor, lead the i4Health program in the College of Pharmacy with students from across campus participating, including Dell Medical School, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Nursing and Communications. The program provides a fresh approach for preparing health innovators through a series of classes, practicums and workshops that focus on creating innovative, entrepreneurial leaders and thinkers who can innovate in a range of work environments, from startups to global enterprises. While the program’s creation originated at the University of Texas, its scalable concept is designed for innovators and teams both on campuses and in the workforce.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2024, The University of Texas College of Pharmacy’s Innovating for Health (i4Health) team held the seventh annual Health Innovations Pitch Competition, showcasing student team projects from the Health Innovations & Entrepreneurship practicum and announcing the i4Health website atÂ

Judges for the Health Innovations Power Pitch Competition included central Texas entrepreneurs and biotechnology innovators of central Texas and across the nation, bioscience researchers and Samuel M. Poloyac, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Dean of the University of Texas College of Pharmacy.

“These students, under the guidance of doctors Walkow and Viswanathan, are challenging not only what we can provide in healthcare,” says Dr. Poloyac, “but also how we do it. As we strive to deliver innovative care across every aspect of the patient experience, this work is invaluable for students and will impact their contributions to teams and patients throughout their careers.”

This year’s pitch competition includes the following innovative startups: CystiRNA using mRNA to reverse the genetic mutation in the lungs with the overall goal of inhibiting the progression of cystic fibrosis (CF); PulmaVanc, an inhaled combination of vancomycin and DNase I, is a targeted pulmonary therapy that avoids the hassle and reduces the toxicity associated with systemic administration of IV products; and Omaira is a novel, 3D-bioprinted oral contraceptive pill designed for extended release that lasts for a full week.

For more information about i4Health and its programs in Texas, visitÂ


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The Innovating for Health (i4Health) Institute brings together teams with educational, geographic, experiential, and demographic diversity – a critical element for developing dynamic thinking skills that fuel creative solutions to health issues and promote health equity. Learn more and join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram @innovating4health, LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter) @i4hequity.