As medical data increasingly highlights the serious impact of COVID-19 on children’s health, the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) announces a special pitch competition focused on COVID-19-related pediatric medical devices that support home health monitoring and telehealth; and improve sustainability, resiliency, and readiness in diagnosing and treating children during a pandemic.
Submissions for the competition are being accepted now through Monday, July 6, at the NCC-PDI website, Innovate4Kids.org, where complete details can be found. The competition is led by NCC-PDI co-founders the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Hospital and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland and powered by nonprofit accelerator and NCC-PDI member, MedTech Innovator. The finals in the virtual pitch event will be held on July 20, 2020. Winners will each receive a grant award of up to $50,000.
“Despite early reports that COVID-19 posed less of a threat to children, a recent study published by Children’s National shows that considerable numbers of pediatric patients are hospitalized and become critically ill from the disease,” says Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator of NCC-PDI. “Innovation in children’s medical devices consistently lags behind that of adults and we need to change that if we are to confront the challenge to children’s health of COVID-19 and future pandemics.”
Experts at the University of Maryland, where COVID-19 projects ranging from improved PPE to better virus testing are in progress, encourage device innovators to be mindful of how their innovation can currently, or with adaptation, serve children’s needs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses many new challenges to our healthcare system and it is vitally important that we focus resources and support on the unique needs of pediatric patients,” says William E. Bentley, PhD, Robert E. Fischell distinguished professor and director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the University of Maryland. “Innovation in pediatric healthcare makes an exponential difference because, by positively impacting the lives of children, we positively affect the lives of their families and caregivers as well.”
To date, NCC-PDI has mentored more than 100 medical device sponsors to help advance their pediatric innovations, with seven devices having received either their FDA market clearance or CE marking. The consortium hosts a major pediatric pitch competition annually that showcases and awards promising pediatric innovations and provides a first-of-its-kind pediatric-focused accelerator program for finalists.