Health Care

Embracing Community to Ignite Collective Genius: The Health Innovators Fellowship Multi-Class Reunion

September 21, 2023  • Samantha Cherry

Earlier this month, Chicago, Illinois, played host to a multi-class reunion that brought together Health Innovators Fellows from diverse corners of the health care industry. The gathering marked a pivotal moment in the Fellowship’s history as it was the first time the community was brought together across classes. It was a celebration of community, shared purpose, and a call for addressing health care’s most pressing challenges, particularly health equity and the adolescent mental health crisis.

The Health Innovators Fellowship is a dynamic force, comprising individuals from across the health care sector. The reunion brought Fellow physicians, start-ups founders, venture capital, and academics together to find synergies of cross-class collaboration. Fellows John Damon, Michael O’Neil and Dale Cook presented out on the Canopy Anywhere – a “megaventure” fueled by leaders across the Fellowship – which aims to supercharge hope for young people facing the mental health crisis. This initiative holds the promise of making a significant impact on a pressing issue within health care. The reunion provided an opportunity to welcome in further collaboration on the venture across the Fellowship.

“I’ve been brought outside my comfort zone and challenged to think about my courage…”
— John Damon, Class 5, CEO, Canopy Children's Solutions

An ideation session with experts also expanded horizons by exploring new ideas and technologies to meet health care needs. Conversations spanned topics such as artificial intelligence, workforce innovation, and health equity. These discussions serve as a testament to the Fellowship’s commitment to innovative thinking and addressing health care disparities.

Additionally, two enlightening podcasts were recorded—one delving into investing in health care and the other focused on health equity. These podcasts, available on Health:Further hosted by Fellow Marcus Whitney and Portal Innovations Founder and CEO, John Flavin, provided valuable insights and ignited discussions on the future of health care with insights from Fellows Anna Haghgooie, Managing Director at Valtruis, Dr. Kameron Matthews, Chief Health Officer at Cityblock Health and Family Physician, and Dr. Kedar Mate, President and CEO at The Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Portal Innovation hosted the dinner and the podcast taping. 

Yet, the value of attending this gathering extended beyond the professional realm. It also had a profound personal impact on the Fellows’ personal leadership journeys. The gathering also featured participation in Aspen’s classic seminar dialogues, providing space for reflection, connection, and new perspectives. By exchanging ideas with differently minded, but like-hearted innovators, the group found themselves inspired, challenged, and invigorated.

“The gathering pushed me outside my comfort zone, and reminded me to listen to others more deeply.”
— Jason Grinstead, Class 5, External Advisor, Bain & Company

Another standout activity at the reunion was a session at Second City Improv, which not only injected laughter and camaraderie but also enhanced communication skills, including the all-important art of listening. The ability to truly hear and understand each other is paramount in uniting under the shared purpose to solve complex health care challenges.

The reunion was more than just a gathering; it was a convergence of bright minds, a celebration of diversity, and a platform for actionable solutions. In a world where health care challenges persist, the Health Innovators Fellowship serves as an example of what can be achieved when brilliant minds come together with a common purpose—igniting collective genius to create a healthier, more equitable future.