MaineHealth Innovation builds connections to drive diversity of thought, educates to produce creative problem-solvers, and funds to accelerate ideas. By leveraging the ideas, insights and expertise of all care team members to develop novel solutions to our unmet care needs, we are working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.





September 2023 | View Archived Issues

Created by Angelina Clancy


  • Innovation Cohort and Ignite Fund - Application Deadline 10/1
  • Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner Returns 9/12
  • Connect, Educate, and Fund
  • LincolnHealth's Post-Partum Naloxone Kit
  • Future of Healthcare Venture Showcase
  • Welcome New Innovation Cabinet Members
  • Intellectual Property Update
  • Innovation 101


Vice President

of Innovation


A Note from Susan

Susan Ahern - Vice President of Innovation, MaineHealth


Happy September! I am excited to introduce you to a source of inspiration that I discovered that transcends industries and disciplines – the insights with rock star music producer Rick Rubin, who has been a singular transformative creative muse for artists across genres and generations Rick Rubin on – Magic, Everyday Mystery, and Getting Creative.

From a metaphor for all of life in pro wrestling to the ancient game of Go, Rick has consistently demonstrated an extraordinary ability to push boundaries and create something novel. His approach to music production embodies the very essence of innovation – breaking from the norm to craft something exceptional.

In a recent interview with On Being with Krista Tippett, Rick shares some key thoughts highlighted below that resonate with our innovation mission and where we think anything is possible as we work together to make our communities the healthiest in America!

  1. Nurture a Beginner’s Mind
  2. Embrace Simplicity
  3. Cultivate Open Spaces
  4. Listen and Learn
  5. Challenge the Status Quo

As we encourage all care team members to engage with our fall innovation programs and services, let’s draw from Rick’s wisdom and infuse it into our own approach to thinking differently. Remember, creativity knows no boundaries, and innovation can emerge from unexpected places!

With kind regards,


Join the Growing Portfolio of MaineHealth Innovators!

Innovators range from nurses to neurosurgeons, scientists to social workers, administrators to service technicians, and many more folks from across the system. These programs empower all of our colleagues to continually seek novel solutions to the real problems that our patients and communities face.

Innovation Ignite Fund

This internal funding mechanism of up to $20,000 is awarded to help innovators accelerate their project through understanding user pain points, building a prototype, or testing an assumption.

Applications deadline: October 1 at 10:00 AM.

Learn More + Apply

Innovation Cohort

This collaborative 8-week program helps MaineHealth care team members advance an early innovative "back of the envelope" idea that addresses an unmet care need by embedding themselves in innovation science, user discovery, prototyping, and intellectual property considerations. 

Applications deadline: October 1 at 10:00 AM.

Learn More + Apply

The Cohort will meet the following dates from 7:00-8:30 am:

10/25, 11/9, 11/30, 12/14

Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner Returns September 12!

The Innovation Coffee Corner occurs on the first Tuesday of every month from 8:30-9:30 am via Teams. This fun, informal hour of networking and conversation brings together care team members across the system.

The first ten minutes covers Innovation 101. The rest of the hour consists of networking with colleagues around the system and brainstorming innovation ideas. No registration is needed to attend. Just click the link to join the meeting on September 12!

Join Here

The Coffee Corner will meet the following dates from 8:30-9:30 am:

9/12, 10/3, 11/7, 12/5



Innovation Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner

September 12

Join Here

Future of Healthcare Founder Residency Venture Showcase

September 11

Register Here

BioME Annual Conference

September 21

Learn More

The Roux Institute Healthcare Innovation Start Summit

September 29-30

 Register Here


Learn + Discover

Intellectual Property Information Session

2nd Wednesday

of the month, 7:30-8 am

September 13

 Register Here

MaineHealth Innovation Cohort

Application deadline

October 1

Apply Here

UMaine Foster Center of Innovation I-Corps Program

Learn More


Seed Funding

MaineHealth Ignite Fund

Application deadline October 1

Apply Here

Maine Venture Fund Startup Challenge

Application deadline September 29

Learn More

Innovation Stories

We're mapping stories across MaineHealth to highlight incredible innovative work happening around the system and to inspire others to share their story. Do you have an innovative story that you would like to share? Submit Your Story

Tackling the Opioid Overdose Crisis: Post-Partum Patients Equipped with Naloxone First Aid Kits

Naloxone (widely known by its brand name “Narcan”) is more available than ever, but most people don’t have it on hand or know how to use it. The staff at the LincolnHealth Birthing Unit decided to change that, one person at a time.

They now offer Narcan to every post-partum patient at discharge. Staff include the naloxone and instructions for use in a family first aid kit given to all new parents. The distribution program has been very successful.

The naloxone kits were first piloted at Franklin Memorial Hospital’s birthing unit in 2021-22 by Nell Tharpe, CNM, and Dr. Jay Naliboff, members of the Perinatal Quality Collaborative for Maine (PQC4ME). PQC4ME is an initiative under the Maternal Child Health programs at the Maine Medical Association Center for Quality Improvement. Distributing the kits with naloxone at the bedside opens the door to talking about accidental poisoning or overdose from opioids, helps reduce stigma and makes the decision to bring naloxone home easier for parents. By raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and equipping families to give naloxone more people are prepared to save a life.

Read More

Photographed: Samples of the first aid kits given to all new parents.

"We’re pleased by how receptive and even enthusiastic our staff has been with distributing the kits and educating patients. They see the need for naloxone in the community and understand that it’s a preventative measure designed to help anyone who may need it. We’re really grateful for their willingness to make this program a success.

– Angela Russ, Nurse Manager, Obstetrics, LincolnHealth

Innovation Partnership Highlight

MaineHealth Innovation serves as the connective tissue that links innovators with global experts and pioneers. We tap into strategic partnerships and our health system network to bring ideas to life.

Transforming the Future of Healthcare: Join us at the Roux Institute’s Venture Showcase!

The Roux Institute's inaugural Future of Healthcare Founder Residency presents the "Venture Showcase" on Monday, September 11, from 4:00-7:30 pm at the Roux Institute.

The event will bring together healthcare visionaries, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry partners for a captivating exploration of cutting-edge technologies. Don't miss the chance to witness inspirational pitches from nine innovative healthcare companies, explore transformative partnerships, and discover real-world impact driven by this innovative program.

Register Here

Designed in partnership with Northern Light Health and MaineHealth, the Roux Institute’s Future of Healthcare Founder Residency is the first of its kind in northern New England. Participants of the program received an investment and opportunity to learn from and collaborate with top clinicians and healthcare experts, mentors, and growth-accelerating programming.

We look forward to welcoming you to an unforgettable experience that will inspire and empower you to embrace the potential of healthcare transformation. See you at the Venture Showcase!

Innovation Updates

Welcome Three New Innovation Cabinet Members!

The MaineHealth Innovation Cabinet members advise and support MaineHealth Innovation and champion innovation across the MaineHealth system. Quarterly, the Innovation Cabinet meets to take part in roundtables. These are designed as a brainstorming session around one or two pressing questions regarding Innovation in the MaineHealth system.

Joel Botler, MD

Southern Region Interim President and Chief Medical Officer, MaineHealth

Trampas Hutches

Mountain Region President, MaineHealth

Chris Thomson, MD

Chief Medical and Transformation Officer, MaineHealth

Intellectual Property Update

By Todd Keiller

MaineHealth Tech Transfer provides an invention disclosure process, intellectual property filing support, licensing negotiation, and commercialization pathways. The MaineHealth Intellectual Property Policy is a generous benefit to those MaineHealth care team members who have a patentable idea.

Congratulations to our innovators for moving forward on intellectual property milestones!

  • Michael Robich, former MaineHealth thoracic surgeon, received an issued patent for an idea conceived at MaineHealth. The patent is entitled “Angled Surgical Trocar”, and will now give Michael exclusive rights to the idea. The issued patent will spark a new effort to find a licensee to pick up the IP and commercialize the idea. Learn more about Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer here

Innovation 101

By Angelina Clancy

Each month, our MaineHealth Innovation newsletter features tips for developing skills to “think differently” and to adopt a more innovative mindset. 

Journey Mapping

We have been focusing on the inspiration and discovery phase of the innovation process lately. Last time we dove deeper with secondary research. This term refers to the broad range of sources you can use to collect valuable facts when investigating the design space. By this time, you will have a large collection of information through research, interviews, and observance to gain insight into understanding if you have discovered the right solution. Now it's time to test your solution.

The next phase of the innovation process is ideation. This is when solutions are formed and can be tested for viability. Questions that come up during this phase are “How do I choose the right solution to my problem?” and “How do I prototype my idea?”

To help determine how to choose the right solution, a valuable method to use is journey mapping. According to the Design Kit, “a journey map allows you to identify and strategize for key moments in the product, experience, or service you’re designing.”

A journey map helps to visualize a user’s experience from beginning to end. To begin this process, start with one solution to explore. Draft a simple timeline the user would typically experience when going through the process you’re trying to solve for.

Note each core moment the user engages in during the process on sticky notes. They can be simple snapshots of the experience, no great detail is needed.

Next, write about 3-5 additional key moments on separate sticky notes. It’s key to think about all the factors that have an influence on the user during this experience. Pull from the information you’ve collected in your research. A great place to start is from the Framing the Design Challenge.

Place the sticky notes in the order you believe the user would likely experience each moment written. Then grow and edit your journey map by adding, removing, reordering, and revising these key moments.

This exercise helps you determine where pain points in the user journey are, and where your idea fits. You can use this as a starting point to help determine if you are focusing on the right solution and where to start potentially implementing it.

Join our Coffee Corner or reach out to us at to share what you’ve learned! If you’ve discovered a novel solution to a problem you face, you may be the perfect fit for the fall 2023 cycle of the Innovation Cohort, an 8-week program where participants partake in collaborative brainstorming, user discovery, prototyping, and intellectual property to advance their innovative idea. Applications are now open! Learn more + Apply

MaineHealth Innovation Center Programs

Innovation Cohort | Innovation Fund | Innovation Blender |

Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner

The MaineHealth Innovation Team:

Susan Ahern - Vice President of Innovation

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

Karen Budd, MS - Innovation Manager

Angelina Clancy - Program Coordinator, Innovation

Let us know how we can help support innovation:


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