HEALTH

Odor-Eaters sniffs out brand awareness in New York with stinky sneaker contest

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — This year seven participants from across the country worked hard to stink up their shoes for a chance to win the national title at the Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest held at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Times Square. The regional winners admitted to wearing no socks, stepping in slop of all sources and even claimed it was just their “sweet girly essence,” but only one pair of sneakers out-stunk them all and they belonged to 12-year old, Connor, from Eagle River, Alaska.

For more than 40 years, the Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker contest has celebrated kids’ active lives by giving kids from all over the U.S. an opportunity to show off their foul-smelling sneakers for a chance to win a trip to New York for the national competition. This event is the ultimate test – the worst of the worst.

This year's Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker contest professional judges included NASA “Master Sniffer” George Aldrich, chemical specialist for NASA space missions and Rachel Herz, an expert and author on the psychology of smell. The newest judges, Greg Mocker from WPIX 11 and Buck Wolf from the Huffington Post, were also on hand for this year's sniff test.

The grand prize winner was awarded $2,500. The champion confessed that his sneakers got dirty and smelly because he steps into a lot of animal poop on his aunt’s farm. He also loves fishing and camping which gets him into a lot of stinky situations.

 

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J&J QuickFire Challenge fosters innovation to improve use of medications

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson Innovation on Wednesday announced the launch of the newest QuickFire Challenge: Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products. The challenge seeks to identify entrepreneurs, academics, scientists, engineers or startup companies who are advancing potentially game-changing, early stage, innovative solutions to advance safety in healthcare products that help inform patients and consumers, simulate surgical procedures, and ensure proper storage and use of prescription, over-the-counter and cosmetic products.

"Dedicated to scientific excellence, bioethics and values-based decision-making, the Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer has a history of collaborating externally to create innovative solutions for patients and consumers," stated Joanne Waldstreicher, chief medical officer, Johnson & Johnson.  "Through our collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation on this challenge, we hope to identify scientifically sound, breakthrough ideas that will advance both the safe use and a greater understanding of the safety of healthcare products to positively impact outcomes."

"Entrants can submit ideas in one of three focus areas that are critical for ensuring that we make the safest possible products on behalf of patients and consumers," commented Melinda Richter, head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS. "In addition to funding, Advancing the Safe Use of Healthcare Products QuickFire Challenge winners will be awarded JLABS support that includes infrastructure, services, educational programs and networks in global hotspots."

The QuickFire Challenge includes three innovation focus areas:

  1. Empowering patients and consumers to make more informed healthcare decisions by providing better information and education about the safety of healthcare products. This challenge focus area seeks ways to maximize consumer and patient education and understanding of healthcare products and their safety and efficacy, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer products. The objective is to empower patients, consumers and healthcare providers to make more informed decisions and obtain maximum benefit from product use through greater understanding of safety data and by ensuring more effective communication and enhancing education;
  2. Improving training and development for surgeons by identifying new models that simulate the operating room environment. This focus area seeks new and robust models and methods to evaluate medical devices used by surgeons in a simulated environment representative of operating room procedures, with the goal of helping the surgeon understand how to safely and effectively use a medical device and understand variability in device and performance/outcome. Entries should focus on soft tissue models that anatomically represent organ-specific anatomic features and biological properties, such as tissue injury, bleeding and clotting responses; and
  3. Empowering patients and consumers to more safely administer and handle healthcare products. The third focus area seeks ways to address the challenge of prescription medication errors. Entries should identify patient- and consumer-focused devices, solutions or platforms that will prevent errors and solutions to promote safe storage and administration or extend the shelf life of prescription, over-the-counter or cosmetic products.

This initiative is open globally to applicants with solutions across the pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer products sectors. QuickFire Challenge winners will receive research grants totaling up to $200,000, entrance to a Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS facility and/or mentoring from Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

QuickFire Challenge entries that reflect the overall mission of improving the safety of and safe use of healthcare products will be evaluated by a juried panel comprising senior scientific and medical research staff as well as medical safety experts within Johnson & Johnson who have expertise across pharmaceuticals, medical device and consumer sectors.

Information about entering the challenge and entry guidelines can be found online. Participants must indicate whether they have a team in place that can bring their idea to life. Entries must be submitted by May 24, 2017. Winning entries will be evaluated and winners in each category selected in fall 2017.

 

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Blue Shield investment accelerates higi strategy

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Higi on Wednesday announced an investment from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and the acquisition of EveryMove, a cloud-based engagement application. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi's strategy to create expand its reach in managing consumer health through the collection and workflow integration of ambient health and lifestyle data.

As part of the investment Higi has acquired EveryMove, a pioneer in consumer health engagement that delivers incentives to health plan members to reduce costs and improve outcomes.  "This investment, along with the integration of EveryMove, further extends higi's leadership in enabling population health and our ability to help our payer, provider, retail and brand customers to drive behavior change, cost savings and improved health," noted Jeff Bennett, higi CEO.

EveryMove's proprietary technology platform, Tandem, is an analytics driven automation platform designed to target and motivate the right actions among the right members to meet healthcare sponsors' near term business goals specific to care management, utilization, quality, prevention and coding.

The investment by the BlueCross BlueShield Venture Fund validates the importance of a complete consumer data profile to drive successful engagement in areas like population health, quality and prevention. "Higi is the only network we have seen that has demonstrated an ability to integrate into the normal workflow of the consumer, whether at the retailer, the pharmacy or on their mobile phone," stated Anna Haghgooie of Sandbox Industries, which provides investment management services to the BlueCross BlueShield Venture Fund.

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners is a corporate venture fund licensed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in promising emerging companies of strategic relevance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

Higi collects and secures data today on behalf of more than 36 million unique users at its nearly 11,000 retail stations and through integrations with 80 connected health devices, wearables and apps. Through its secure, HIPAA-compliant data collection and engagement and workflow integration tools, customers leverage that lifestyle data to drive more targeted engagement.
 

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