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Duke Innovates Together To Advance Health Care

As a global leader in health, Duke supports faculty, staff, and students in working together across the University and Health system—practitioners, researchers, engineers, business experts, and beyond—to make improvements and discoveries in how we care for patients.

Below are just some of the many examples of how Duke innovators are working together to detect disease sooner, tailor treatment, find new solutions to old problems, improve patients’ mental as well as physical health, and bring equity to health care.

Using the “Sense to Know” app, caregivers can track behaviors like attention span, motor skills, emotional expressiveness, vocalizing, and interest in social cues. The app supports a study whose goal is to detect neurodevelopmental disorders sooner, enabling interventions as early as possible.

The Duke Co-Lab 3D has partnered with the Duke Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center to print 3D hearts to support cardiologists in preparing for surgery, resulting in less invasive surgeries and less time under anesthesia.

Innovations in Healthcare, a nonprofit founded by Duke, McKinsey, and the World Economic Forum, identified and curated a network of 99 global health innovators across 90 countries through a systematic scouting process—then examined four of the most innovative ones for lessons in adapting their approaches to other health systems.

Surgeon Joseph Fernandez-Moure and chemist Matthew Becker were both drawn to Duke for opportunities to collaborate across disciplines. When they met at new faculty orientation, they began an exploration of how Becker’s work with an adhesive that could slowly be absorbed into the body could revolutionize Fernandez-Moure’s work treating complex rib fractures.

Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, Duke faculty members helped convene the Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19 (LATIN-19). Made of 56 volunteer members drawn from Duke University and Duke Health system and other community organizations, and with backgrounds in health care, public policy, education, business, and community activism, the group worked to identify and remedy pandemic-related disparities facing the Latinx population. 

With seed grants from Duke’s All Babies and Children Thrive (ABC Thrive), four interdisciplinary teams at Duke will explore new interventions to support positive early childhood development ranging from tools for earlier identification of children at risk for neurodevelopmental challenges, to methods for teaching young children prosocial behaviors, to improving outcomes for black children and families through early care interventions and new teaching methods.

Duke neurosurgeon Tony Fuller worked with partners to establish an epilepsy clinic in Mbarara—the only dedicated epilepsy clinic in all of Western Uganda—and collaborated with Bass Connections teams to explore practical and cultural barriers to epilepsy care in Uganda and reduce care disparities.

With cross-Duke collaboration WearDuke, students can use data gathered by wearables and smartphones to learn how their activities impact their physical and mental health and academic achievement.

Together with partners at NC State’s College of Design, a Bass Connections team explored how to use design thinking to address healthcare system challenges and improve quality of care for pediatric patients with complex medical conditions.

Bass Connections project DukeLine piloted anonymous peer coaching, conducted via text, to improve students’ mental health.

Orthopaedic surgeon and Fuqua alum Erica Taylor founded the Orthopaedic Diversity Leadership Consortium, a pioneering network of national orthopaedic diversity leaders, to share best practices and strategies with healthcare professionals and organizations.

Innovators’ Academy courses offer tailored support for early career faculty and staff interested in advancing new ideas, interventions, and technologies. A recent collaboration by I&E and Duke Health Perioperative Services guided participants to develop innovative solutions to known problems in the surgical perioperative setting.

Learn how Duke innovates together…

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