U.S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware was presented with this year’s Medical Innovation Champion award by the Delaware Chapter of We Work for Health (WWFH) at Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA) in Wilmington on August 27. The award was furnished in conjunction with a WWFH roundtable discussion on the future of medical innovation in Delaware.
Senator Carper’s work has been of tremendous importance to the robust medical innovation industry in Delaware, and the workforce and economic support it provides. He has been a strong supporter of the innovators, helping ensure they are able to recoup their investments with the protection of data exclusivity rights in health care reform. He is an advocate and supporter of the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) and Delaware becoming the first state to roll out electronic health records statewide.
“Senator Carper has gone to bat for innovators here in Delaware and around the country,” said Frank Howard, WWFH Campaign Manager. “His leadership in health care reform was critical in keeping important research alive.”
Medical innovation leaders in Delaware held a roundtable discussion following the award covering several issues of importance to the continued support of medical innovation in Delaware. Topics covered included narrowing gaps in translation research so more lab discoveries make it to market; navigating current limitations on private investment; reforming the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory review process; and stimulating the cultivation of new innovators through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and other programs.
“Today’s gathering allowed for important discussions on what steps we need to be taking to support future innovators,” said JA President and WWFH Delaware Chapter Co-Chair Rob Eppes. “Here at Junior Achievement, we are doing our part to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders in medical innovation and research.”
Attendees were invited on a tour of JA’s Innovation Hub by Eppes. The Hub is a STEM career exploration zone within the JA World experiential learning center. Through virtual expeditions, students are able to explore local STEM career opportunities and the associated educational requirements. Preparations are underway for the Hub to host 2,700 students for the JA Innovation Hub Career and College Readiness Experience in late September.
Roundtable participants included representatives from: AIDS Delaware; Analtech, Inc.; Christiana Care Health System; Delaware AFL-CIO; Delaware Bioscience Association; Delaware Biotechnology Institute; Delaware Economic Development Office; Delaware Healthcare Commission; Delaware HIV Consortium; Delaware State University; Junior Achievement of Delaware; and Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers.
We Work for Health is a grassroots initiative that unites health consumers, biopharmaceutical company employees and retirees, vendors, suppliers and other business, academic and community partners to demonstrate how these diverse groups work together to improve America’s health care system and strengthen our economy.