Liftoff PGH Launches into Inclusive Innovation

Generation Fempreneur speakers

The COVID-19 Pandemic has exacerbated deadly disparities for communities isolated by race, income, and age, and yet, innovation itself struggles with diversity in design. As Liftoff in Motion blazes through the summer, the series dives into inclusive innovation, centering new voices in the future of health care.

Dr. Vivian Lee kicked off a full evening with the panel Addressing Disparities During a Pandemic. A longtime friend of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and member of the group Women of Impact, Dr. Lee currently serves as the President of Health Platforms at Verily Life Sciences (an Alphabet company) and as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Lee discussed critical topics at the intersection of patient safety, innovation, and social equity, featured in her new book The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone. Her latest publication offers a compelling action plan for pivoting health care toward a safer and more equitable future. In her chapters "Big Data Dreams," and "Manufacturing out the Mishaps," she maps the development of safer healthcare systems, focusing on harnessing technology and data and reducing medical error.

The panel continued with a discussion on designing for underserved populations, moderated by Innovate PGH's Sean Luther. Luther was joined by Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Dan Swayze, Associate VP Clinical Affairs for Community Support Services at UPMC Health Plan, and Geng Wang, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Civic Champs, a volunteer management app.

Liftoff in Motion has been gaining steam, following the inspiring fireside chat with Founder of NOVID and Carnegie Mellon mathematics professor Po-Shen Loh. NOVID is the world's first contact tracing app able to measure the spread of COVID-19 anonymously and accurately. Dr. Loh chatted about innovating for social good, interviewed by Co-Founder of the Partnership to Advance Responsible Technology (PART) Kenny Chen. To catch up on previous sessions, check out Liftoff PGH's newly launched YouTube channel.

Next up is the week-long summit Generation Fempreneur: Women+ in the Age of Innovation on August 24 to 28. The mini-series explores women's underrepresentation in spaces of invention, applying multiple lenses to understand structural and institutional challenges to gender diversity. The sessions kick off with local entrepreneur and founder of AbiliLife Courtney Williams, followed by a joint discussion of organizational culture with Professor of Business Administration, Psychology, Public and International Affairs Audrey Murrell, and Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Carnegie Mellon Ayana Ledford. Dr. Sonya Borrerro and Dr. Tamar Krishnamurti of the University of Pittsburgh's Femtech initiative will discuss designing for women, and the week closes with Erica Friedman of Pittsburgh's social innovation challenge UpPrize and its latest winner Kim Cauley Eckel.

Register for Generation Fempreneur at

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