Every year, Cleveland Clinic celebrates the innovative culture that runs deep within our organization. Guided by our enterprise mission to continuously improve the care our patients receive, innovation happens at all levels of Cleveland Clinic. In this year’s Celebrating Innovation awards program, we honor a diverse group of individuals whose inventive spirit keeps us at the forefront of patient care.

Celebrating Innovation is an opportunity for us to recognize our most innovative physicians, researchers and administrators, as well as those who engaged with our INVENT® process in 2020. From submitting a new invention, receiving an issued patent or achieving a commercial outcome, these individuals are passionate about moving healthcare forward.

Hear about Cleveland Clinic’s innovative culture from our leaders working to shape it:


View all 2021 Celebrating Innovation Stories

For our Innovation Awards, we select caregivers who have pushed the boundaries of research and clinical care to bring about transformative solutions. We are delighted to share their unique stories for inspiration and encouragement as it relates to the invention process:

For Outstanding Innovation in Medical Device, we recognize Jane Hartman, CNP, for her success with the novel High-Line IV tubing solution. Finding it applicable in removing essential machinery from COVID-19 hospital rooms for personal protective equipment (PPE) conservation, Hartman rapidly adapted and produced her solution to stock nearly all Cleveland Clinic locations.

For Outstanding Innovation in Health Information Technology, we recognize Christina Canfield and Alicia Burkle for their ongoing support of Cleveland Clinic’s eHospital and eCMU programs. Remotely monitoring patients for quicker identification and resolution of issues, Canfield and Burkle have had an enormous hand in the success of these initiatives, maintaining current sites and expanding services to new Cleveland Clinic locations.
For Outstanding Innovation in Therapeutics & Diagnostics, we recognize Robert Fairchild, PhD, for the recent license of his urine biomarker platform test for kidney transplant rejection. Dr. Fairchild’s non-invasive solution has the potential to overrule current biopsy-based diagnostics and represents an important advancement for kidney transplant patients worldwide.


For Outstanding Innovation in Delivery Solutions, we recognize Nancy Albert, PhD, and Kathy Ray, for the development of the “My Recorded On-Demand Audio Discharge Instructions (MyROAD®),” a card with a pre-recorded audio message meant to improve outcomes for patients with heart failure. Engineered alongside American Greetings, the project is a prime example of inter-industry collaboration for healthcare improvement.


This year’s Young Innovator Award goes to Becca Urban for her leadership in the enterprise’s surgical instrument standardization initiative. This project has saved the enterprise over $4 million in new instrument purchase savings and inspired much of the organization to adopt lean practices.


The 4th Annual Hickey Innovation Impact Award has been awarded to Team S[erg]ICAL. The S[erg]ICAL project aims to reduce musculoskeletal injuries related to surgical and interventional procedures, which are common among physicians and other surgical staff. The body positioning and posture that surgical staff are forced into when optimizing their visual field during surgery, coupled with the ancillary equipment they wear, often leads to largely uncomfortable ergonomic issues – some with lasting consequences. Due to the effects on both the health of these individual clinicians and the care they can provide to patients, team S[erg]ICAL is exploring solutions to this problem.


With this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, we recognize Mohamed Naguib, MD. Dr. Naguib’s research inspired Cleveland Clinic spin-off NeuroTherapia – a company focused on discovering and developing new chemical entities for the treatment of neuroinflammatory disease. Dr. Naguib passed away in 2020, leaving behind a blossoming startup with the power to revolutionize care for neurologic disorders such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. Read more about NeuroTherapia below.

Celebrating Innovation also allows us to recognize those innovations that have taken the next step on the journey to the patient’s bedside – the innovations that have entered the market as investible, standalone companies. These entities have received strategic investment to address organizational priorities and healthcare whitespace opportunities, and we are proud to celebrate them and their contributions to the health ecosystem. In 2020, three new Cleveland Clinic portfolio companies were formed, seven received investment to further their development and a select group achieved significant milestones:

Centerline Biomedical completed the first surgical case in its MOTION multicenter prospective clinical study, which will be used to support the company’s submission for market clearance in Europe and other international markets.


Cleveland Diagnostics initiated commercial and clinical operations, offering its IsoPSA® test on a limited basis through physicians in Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. A health economic analysis published by the company in late 2020 found that IsoPSA® technology significantly reduces unnecessary prostate cancer biopsies and costs.


NeuroTherapia announced the completion of a Phase 1a first-in-human clinical trial of their lead compound, NTRX-07. The study was a single ascending dose clinical trial carried out in healthy volunteers, in which NeuroTherapia observed a lack of dose-limiting toxicity and side effects, giving confidence that the product will be safe for use in patients following longer-term administration.


VisionAir Solutions launched commercialization in 2020 and successfully placed their 3D patient-specific silicone airway stents in the United States and Europe.

We invite you to explore our full Celebrating Innovation report and hear acceptance speeches and additional insight from the awardees. Congratulations again to these individuals and entities who found success in 2020. You, like the caregivers who served in the 100 years before you, are changing the face of medicine for patients around the globe.

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