September 2022 | View Archived Issues






  • A Note from Susan
  • Save the Date -  Sept. Innovation Blender
  • Igniting the Spark - Learn about MaineHealth Innovation
  • Innovation Program Deadlines Coming Soon
  • Clinical Coach Spotlight - Michelle Duvall
  • Innovation 101 - Discovery Skills and the Innovation Process
  • Call for Innovation in Education - Fall 2022 Curriculum
  • Opportunities - Connect, Educate & Fund


Vice President

of Innovation


A Note from Susan

Susan Ahern - Vice President of Innovation, MaineHealth

Kindness in Innovation

Being positive, being humble, and showing kindness play an important role in engaging innovators and colleagues as we foster a culture of innovation. My colleagues excel in these areas and I want to take a moment to thank Todd Keiller, Elena Brondolo, Kim Harvey, Angelina Clancy, and Nic North who are creating this environment. We understand that all 22,000 caregiver’s thoughts and opinions matter and, together, we try to offer a safe and welcoming space for innovators to share their ideas among peers and learn from experts with the shared goal of transforming healthcare.

Our fall 2022 programs, kicking back up starting this month, are designed with the innovation culture in mind. We look forward to serving you and seeing what ideas emerge in this new cycle!

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!




Join MaineHealth Innovation and The Roux Institute on Wednesday, September 14 from 12:00 – 12:45pm EST via Zoom for a special Innovation Blender featuring Dr. Aaron Brown, a Faculty Scientist at MaineHealth Institute for Research (MHIR). Learn how brown fat can be activated to reduce obesity and metabolic syndrome. Hear about cutting edge research that supports using a state-of-the-art technique that employs a blue light device, eliminating the dependence on drug-based therapy. Aaron will present a challenge he’s facing in his work, and you will be given the opportunity to help brainstorm possible solutions. Be a part of an interactive brainstorm, as Aaron presents findings and challenges in making this therapy viable to combat obesity.


About the Innovation Blender 

The Innovation Blender is a partnership between MaineHealth Innovation and The Roux Institute, and is run by Kim Harvey, Program Manager at MaineHealth Innovation. It 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


Still wondering what MaineHealth Innovation is? Watch this video to learn more.

View MaineHealth Innovation: Igniting the Spark


MaineHealth Innovation Fall 2022

Cohort and Innovation Fund

Innovation Cohort

Application Deadline

October 1, 2022 at noon EST 

Run by Elena Brondolo, Manager of Innovation, this program helps MaineHealth care team members advance an early innovative "back of the envelope" idea that addresses an unmet care need.


Learn More at the Innovation Cohort Information Sessions

Final Session:

9/15/22 | 7–7:30 am

Register here

Innovation Ignite Fund

Application Deadline

October 1, 2022 at noon EST

This program provides an investment of up to $20,000 to help innovators understand their user pain points, pilot an idea, build a prototype, or test an assumption.


Learn More at the Innovation Fund Information Sessions

Next Sessions:

9/12/22 | 9–9:30 am

Register here

9/22/22 | 4–4:30 pm

Register here

Innovation Bonfire Fund

The MaineHealth Innovation Bonfire Fund provides an investment of up to $100,000 to support an advanced novel solution where additional external or institutional funding opportunities can be explored from collaborators. Funding may be invested in companies or soon-to-be-companies founded by MaineHealth care team members.  

Application Deadline

January 2, 2023 at noon EST


Need help filling out an application?

Join us for MaineHealth Innovation Office Hours every other

Friday from 12:00-1:00pm EST via Zoom. 

The next sessions are August 26 and September 9.

Register here


The MaineHealth Innovation Clinical Coaches help drive the success of MaineHealth Innovation by providing clinical leadership and expertise as innovators work to solve unmet care needs.

Connect with Michelle:

Learn more about the

MaineHealth Innovation

Clinical Coaches


Chief Nursing Information Officer

“The nature of front line nurses is innovative, curious and eager to improve the status quo. This naturally affords them the opportunities to use innovation to improve health and well-being, design and create new approaches to the delivery of care, and communicate health information in a way that is easily accessible to patients, families and the community. The MaineHealth Innovation team provides a much needed ecosystem and infrastructure that enables the transformation of ideas into improving patient outcomes.

Beginning as a bedside nurse, Michelle Duval has served the MaineHealth community as an effective and influential leader for over 35 years. In her current role as Chief Nursing Information Officer, Michelle is eager to leverage technology for the improvement of patient care, care team satisfaction and overall community health. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine and an MSN from Grand Canyon University focusing on Healthcare Informatics and Business Continuity. In exploring and implementing new technologies and improving existing ones, she strives to create strong, productive relationships across disciplines and is a recognized mentor for a number of nurse leaders within our organization. Michelle has been a MaineHealth Innovation Clinical Coach since 2020. She plays a critical role in providing insight in nursing and informatics.

Read more about Michelle


Over the next several months we will share different activities along this innovation process that you can use by yourself or with your teams.

Picking up Where we Left Off: Discovery Skills and the Innovation Process

In our previous Innovation 101 sections we have reviewed the Discovery Skills identified by Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen from the book the Innovator’s DNA. They found that engaging in behaviors like questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting helps you develop new ideas. And associating helps you make connections across the new ideas you’ve formulated to generate innovative thinking.

How has questioning the world around you or making observations about your environment helped you develop new ideas?

The Discovery Skills above help us generate insights or creative ideas. They are the initial Spark! of inspiration for a potentially novel solution. These skills launch us into the non-linear Innovation Process outlined below

Skills in Action:

NewGown – Sara Cox, Patient Navigator, Maine Medical Center

Sara Cox, Patient Navigator, MMC used questioning and observation skills to better understand why patient discharges were being delayed. She observed that discharges were delayed because patients were pulling out their lines. Her questioning and observing behaviors are what sparked her initial idea for the NewGown, a newly design patient gown which she is currently piloting at Maine Medical Center.  

Process in Action:

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Using Artificial Intelligence – Brian Nolan, MD, Primary Care, Western Maine Health

Spark!: Brian Nolan attended a conference (networking) and was introduced to a new AI technology – the diabetic retinopathy camera.

Problem: 40% of his patients in the Western Maine Health area were unable to get the diabetic retinopathy screening they needed.

Solution: A novel primary care model utilizing a new technology to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy

Business Model: Brian worked with the billing department to identify mechanisms to bill for this new service

Innovation Process

adapted from the Innovator’s Method, Dyer & Furr, 2014

  • Spark!: The initial insight or spark for an idea starts with your engagement in the discovery skills above.
  • Problem: The problem that needs to be solved – this takes work to uncover! As we investigate the problem, we want to understand what are specific causes of that problem, what is currently being done to address it, and why aren’t the current solutions working.
  • Solution: Once we know what the problem we are trying to solve for is, we explore potential solutions. We prototype and test ideas rapidly in order to understand which one might be the best fit.
  • Business Model: In healthcare, our business is care delivery. Some innovations may fit within our existing care models and will require us to come up with implementation plans for novel solutions. Others might requires us to think differently and work to identify develop paths towards commercialization.

Check out this short video in which Nathan Furr describes the Discovery Skills and Innovation Process.

Stay tuned over the next several months as we share different activities along this innovation process that you can use by yourself or with your teams!


MaineHealth Office of Interprofessional Education Presents:

Interprofessional Innovation in Education (IIEF) Curriculum Fall 2022

Please join the Office of Interprofessional Education this Fall for educational sessions to learn more about innovation in education, best practices for healthcare education, assessing the impact of novel education models, and how to put together a funding application. We strongly encourage those who may be applying for the 2023 cycle of IIEF grant in the Spring to attend. The sessions are open to all MaineHealth care team members of any profession, and will be held over Zoom. Please register ahead of time.

Learn More + Register



Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner

1st + 3rd Tuesdays of the month

September 6 + September 20| 8:30-9:30 am 

Join Here

MaineHealth Innovation Open Office Hours

Every other Friday, 12-1 pm

Next sessions: August 26 + September 9 

Register Here

MaineHealth Innovation Blender

September 14 | 12:00-12:45 pm

Register Here

Intellectual Property Information Session

September 14| 7:30-8:00am

 Register Here


Learn + Discover

MaineHealth Innovation Cohort

Application deadline 10/1

Apply Here

Interprofessional Innovation in Education

Fall 2022

Register Here



Seed Funding

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 26 and September 9. 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, Content Provider for Innovation Newsletter