Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatry Innovation Lab Nurtures Young Businesses

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Psychiatry Innovation Lab Nurtures Young Businesses

Article excerpt

The future of mental health is in our own hands. As psychiatrists, we have a wealth of experience to fuel transformation in our field and improve care for our patients. What we lack is the space in which to share our ideas and turn them into tangible solutions like sustainable businesses, diagnostic devices, mobile apps, or prevention campaigns.

The Psychiatry Innovation Lab provides just that--it is an incubator nurturing early-stage ideas and ventures by investing in them through mentorship, education, funding, and collaboration opportunities within a community of mental health innovators.

Applications are open now for submissions. The American Psychiatry Association's Workgroup on Psychiatry Innovation will review submissions and select the strongest based on several criteria, including value, viability, background, and impact. Finalists will receive expert mentorship from industry leaders in business, technology, medicine, investing, and government on how to improve the feasibility and effectiveness of the idea.

The lab's main event is on Sunday, May 6, 2018, when leaders in psychiatry will gather alongside industry leaders at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City during the American Psychiatric Association meeting for this fourth annual live event. At the event, finalists will pitch ideas "Shark Tank" style to a panel of expert judges. Finalists will work closely with industry leaders and audience members to fine-tune their ideas before pitching their revisions to the judges as well as to a live, voting audience, who together select the winners of cash awards and other prizes.

"It was exhilarating being up there," said Swathi Krishna, MD, the Audience Choice Award winner of the 2016 Psychiatry Innovation Lab. "Within a short amount of time, we learned how to fine-tune our business plan, get our product to market, and find the right partners to take our company to the next level. Winning a cash prize helped gain the funding necessary to get the idea off the ground. The best part was feeling plugged into a growing community of innovators. It's hard to find that in mental health."

The Psychiatry Innovation Lab was founded in 2015 by Nina Vasan, MD, a Stanford (Calif.) University psychiatrist and author of Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action, and Social Innovation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013), with the purpose of catalyzing more entrepreneurship and innovation in mental health.

"The most meaningful part of the lab has been the impact that these ventures have had on the patients that we serve," said Dr. Vasan, chair of the Psychiatry Innovation Lab and director of Brainstorm, the Stanford Laboratory for Brain Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "Year after year, psychiatrists come back and tell us that they are looking at their own patient care differently now. They're looking for ways to be innovative, and we're giving them the tools necessary to turn their clinical expertise into successful ventures." Applications consist of brief answers to questions and a short YouTube video. The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 9, 2018. Anyone with innovative ideas, regardless of the stage, is invited to apply. The APA Workgroup on Psychiatry Innovation, which oversees the lab, welcomes ideas from people pitching for the first time to those working on their ideas full time. They noted that past finalists have come from all experience levels and a wide range of backgrounds, including students, CEOs, engineers, and psychiatrists. …

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