August 2022 | View Archived Issues






  • A Note from Susan
  • Innovation Highlight: A Vision for Rural Maine
  • Call for Applications: Cohort and Ignite Fund Reminder

  • Interested in Brainstorming? Innovation Blender
  • Opportunities - Connect, Educate & Fund


Vice President

of Innovation


A Note from Susan

Susan Ahern - Vice President of Innovation, MaineHealth

It Takes a Village:

Building and Fostering Relationships


I recently discovered Linda Hill, a speaker on Harvard Business Review’s The New World of Work series. Linda uses the word

“co-create” to describe how we need to collaborate and experiment together in order to work our way to the future. I naturally use the words “it takes a village” and “co-founder” to highlight how important it is to leverage the incredible expertise of each of our care team members in order to accelerate innovation. Come and help us expand and foster a culture of innovation.

With our vision of working together, we’d love to meet more care team members and encourage all to come say hi! It’s so important to remember that innovation isn’t just about having an idea; it’s about being curious and expanding our connections.

We are delighted to welcome, Nic North, Administrative Specialist III, who recently became a later-in-life graduate of the University of Maine and lives in Portland with her partner and three kids.

Happy summer and thanks for your support!

With appreciation,


Innovation Highlight:

A Vision for Rural Maine:

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Using Artificial Intelligence

Brian Nolan MD, Kerri Barton MPH, Brianna Walker, MA, Billie Joe Prech-Child, MA, Emma Day-Branch, MS, Rachel Ann Heuer, MD, Neil Korsen, MD, and Sarah Flagg

at Western Maine Primary Care 

View Brian Nolan's Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Innovation Here

A shortage of local eye care specialists in the Norway, Maine, area has led to an increase in the threat of diabetic retinopathy, a preventable cause of blindness in diabetic patients. Brian Nolan, MD, an Internal Medicine Physician at Western Maine Primary Care in Norway and Brianna Walker, MA, Billie Joe Prech-Child, MA, Emma Day-Branch, MS, Rachel Ann Heuer, MD, Neil Korsen, MD, and Sarah Flagg saw an opportunity to introduce an innovative solution in the primary care setting.


The Spark: Celebrating Innovation Across MaineHealth

"Hurry up and fail. Fail as quickly as you can because failure tells you about things that don't work."

- Obieze Nawanna-Nzewunwa, MD, MS

"If you think this is a good idea, and you really really think it's a good idea, keep pushing." 

- Michael Ferguson, MD, MTeach

"Get other people excited. From the Innovation Center on down to your local clinic."

- Brian Nolan, MD

Click here to view a short video celebrating MaineHealth Innovation

Application Reminder

MaineHealth Innovation Fall 2022 Cohort and Innovation Fund

Have an innovation idea? Our applications are now open for Fall 2022. 

Innovation Cohort

Advancing Back-of-the-Envelope Ideas

Application Deadline

October 1, 2022

at noon EST.


Innovation Ignite Fund

Seed Funding

Application Deadline

October 1, 2022

at noon EST.



Bonfire Fund

Commercialization Funding

Application Deadline

January 2, 2023

at noon EST.


To learn more, join us for program info sessions:

Innovation Cohort Info Sessions

Next Session:

8/17/22 | 4–4:30 pm

Register here

View the full schedule here

Innovation Fund Info Sessions

Next Session:

8/16/22 | 4–4:30 pm

Register here

View the full schedule here

Need help filling out an application?

Join us for MaineHealth Innovation Office Hours.

every other Friday, 12:00-1:00pm EST via Zoom. 

The next sessions are August 12th and 26th.

Register here

Interested in Brainstorming with the Innovation

and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

MaineHealth Innovation Blender

Do you have a solution to an unmet care need? 

Consider sharing your idea in our Innovation Blender.

Apply here.

The Innovation Blender is a partnership between MaineHealth Innovation and The Roux InstituteIt gives practitioners, researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators time together to ideate on solutions. Innovators have 7-10 minutes to pitch their innovation or business and a challenge they are facing followed by 30+ minutes to collectively brainstorm. This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate, connect, and advance your innovation. Learn More

   Past Blender Highlights

  • Hey Freya is innovating women's health solutions to move beyond traditional services focused only on pregnancy and fertility. Hey Freya is a Roux Institute start-up which used the Innovation Blender to brainstorm on ways to connect clinical providers to a unique solution.  

  • Paul Chausse, Jr. is using AI technology to solve issues around billing efficiency and workforce optimization. He used the Innovation Blender to challenge attendees to think outside of the box on how MaineHealth might be able to expand the use of AI into other business units. 

Save the Date! Next Innovation Blender: September 14, 12-12:45 pm. Registration link to be sent out next month.



Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner

1st + 3rd Tuesdays

August 2 + August 16| 8:30-9:30 am 

Join Here

MaineHealth Innovation Open Office Hours

Every other Friday, 12-1 pm

Next sessions: August 12 + August 26 

Register Here

BIOME Summer Networking Reception

August 23 5:00-7:00pm

Register Here

MaineHealth Innovation Blender

September 14 | 12:00-12:45 pm

Register Here


Learn + Discover

Start-Up Checklist Webinar (virtual) 

Maine Small Business Development Center

August 16 11:00am-1:00pm

Register Here

MaineHealth Innovation Cohort

Application deadline 10/1

Apply Here



MaineHealth Ignite Fund

Application deadline 10/1

Apply Here

MaineHealth Bonfire Fund

Application deadline 1/2/2023

Apply Here

Can't Find Us Online?

Our page is located at the bottom of the MaineHealth website.

Do you have an idea to explore?

Join the MaineHealth Innovation Open Office Hours every other Friday from 12:00-1:00pm to talk to the MaineHealth Innovation team about ideas you have and any support you need to complete program applications. The next sessions are August 12 and 26. Register here.

MaineHealth Innovation Services

Through education, connections and funding, we are fostering a culture of innovation across the MaineHealth system to advance novel solutions that address unmet care needs.

MaineHealth Innovation Center Programs

Innovation Cohort | Innovation Elective | Innovation Fund | Innovation Blender |

Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner

Help us celebrate innovation!

Together, we are transforming care through innovation.

Help us celebrate innovation and create a resource for sharing

innovation across MaineHealth by submitting your innovation story!

Submit an Innovation Story

Let us know how we can help support innovation:


The MaineHealth Innovation Team:

Susan Ahern - Vice President of Innovation

Nic North - Administrative Assistant III

Elena Brondolo, MPH, MBA - Manager of Innovation

Kim Harvey, MSOL - Program Manager, Innovation

Todd Keiller, MBA - Director of Intellectual Property & Tech Transfer

Angelina Clancy - Program Coordinator