Mission Log

1.5.21

Pittsburgh’s Future in Health Innovation is Bright – and It’s Female+

Beginning in the summer of 2020, Liftoff PGH 2020 embarked on an ongoing partnership with the Pittsburgh Technology Council and their widely popular Business as Usual webinar series. Together, Liftoff and the Tech Council launched “Generation Fempreneur” – a series of webinars to highlight women+ in Pittsburgh making waves in health innovation.   

Launched in August with a week-long series of daily webinars, Generation Fempreneur explored key questions about the barriers that women+ currently face in breaking into spaces of innovation and entrepreneurship. Day 1 of the series highlighted Dr. Sonya Borrero and Dr. Tamar Krishnamurti from the University of Pittsburgh’s FemTech Collaborative, who discussed designing products specifically targeted to women – including their own novel solutions for reproductive decision making: My Healthy Pregnancy, MyDecision and MyVoice:RD. On Day 2, Audrey Murrell from University of Pittsburgh and Ayana Ledford from Carnegie Mellon University discussed strategies that local companies can take to break down organizational barriers that impact women+. Day 3 showcased Courtney Williamson, Founder and CEO of AbiliLife. Williamson invented the Calibrace+, a specialized back brace for patients with neuromuscular diseases. The final day of the series explored strategies to get more women+ engaged in the innovation pipeline with Erica Friedman from Innovation Works and the 2019 UpPrize winner, Kim Cauley Eckel.    

The Generation Fempreneur series continued at Liftoff PGH in December 2020 with two featured speakers: Dr. Elizabeth Wayne from Carnegie Mellon University, and Dr. Tiffany Kelley from Nightingale Apps. Dr. Wayne discussed her novel work in immunoengineering and its potential applications in both cancer treatment and COVID. Dr. Kelley discussed her background as a nurse turned entrepreneur, and how colleges and universities can better support students interested in health innovation. The conversations left us feeling inspired that women+ across the healthcare sector — from research to nursing to education — can revolutionize health delivery.    

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Liftoff PGH 2020’s partnership with the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Business as Usual will continue in 2021. Stay tuned for more information - moving forward, the series will cover key themes in our Liftoff PGH Post-Event Regional Agenda.