Home and Lifestyle

Taking a look at the 2017 M List Winners

What do these winners have to say about their work

Allergy Amulet Inc.
‘We are developing a consumer food allergen/ingredient detection device.’
Abigail Barnes, Co-founder and CEO
“Our mission is to create greater food transparency, which impacts consumers both in Madison and worldwide. Madison is a prime location for startups right now, and our company has benefited from remaining in this location and being one of the many startups coming out of this emerging tech hub.”

Carex Consulting Group
‘We provide high-quality staffing solutions, specializing in health-tech, IT and project management.’
Rachel Neill, CEO
“We love being in Madison, and we are passionate about making Madison a hub for health-tech startups and beyond. Each week we organize a free meetup called 1 Million Cups that connects entrepreneurs with the community. The more successful startups that come out of Madison, the better it is for our community and economy. We love donating our time to helping startups 
in our area.”

bluDiagnostics
‘Transforming women’s health, focusing first on women struggling with fertility’
Katie Brenner, Co-founder
“Personal experience with fertility issues revealed to me that women who struggle to become pregnant have no convenient way to get the clinically relevant information they need for decisions and diagnoses. The best technology available today is a daily blood test to measure fertility hormones. We developed a way to measure hormones in saliva instead of blood so that women can measure conveniently at home.”

Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin–Madison
‘We study well-being and how it can be learned.’
Richard J. Davidson, Center director and professor of psychology and psychiatry
“There’s still a lot to learn about what contributes to well-being, for whom, and why, but 30-plus years of research has shown us that well-being can be intentionally trained. I’m now dedicated to not only continuing the research in this area, but to also be an agent of change in getting it out in the world where it can actually help people and change lives.”

CenterX
‘Serve prescription and drug benefit information to the Epic Systems community’
Joe Reinardy, President
“Madison’s potential is unmatched throughout the country and possibly the world. 
It has all of the building blocks for a health care innovation hub: complete health care delivery systems headquartered here, the university, companies that lead HIT innovation, life sciences companies and incubation.”

CléMetric Data Analytics
‘Analyzes health data in real-time with cognitive and streaming computing’
Gergens Jean Polynice, CEO
“Our software is being used in the United States and overseas to improve efficiency, speed up medical research and provide evidence-based analytics for patient care. We are a Madison high-tech company, located at the University Research Park. Our goal is to positively impact the Madison community by creating opportunities and offering our services/products.”

Dock Technologies
‘Patient-worn wristbands that provide clinicians a visual reminder of time elapsed’
Sarah Sandock, CEO
“I chose to bring Dock’s timers to market because they are part of a simple system that helps clinicians treat acute care patients quicker. Timely treatment in cases like stroke is directly correlated to healthier recoveries, reduced disability and less time spent in the hospital. The cognitive factors affecting caregivers and treatment time have been largely unaddressed 
in health care. … Ensuring that these factors are addressed is a personal motivating factor.”

Datica
‘Removes risks for digital health in the cloud’
Travis Good. CEO and chief privacy officer
“The premise for building a HIPAA-compliant cloud platform came from my own experience in building apps, then realizing that the market needed to stop re-inventing the wheel. The most promising innovations arise from recognizing the greatest market need. My co-founding partner and I saw the need for helping digital health development teams build and test innovations quickly and inexpensively.”

healthfinch
‘Automates routine clinical tasks within the outpatient setting’
Jonathan Baran, Co-founder and CEO
“We refer to community as a core value at healthfinch. For us, this means working closely with the health care organizations in Madison because not only will making them successful meet our business needs, [but] they will all make our families healthier.”

Imbed Biosciences
‘Develop novel wound care and drug delivery strategies to improve lives’
Jeff Dalsin, Vice president of product development
“Madison has a unique opportunity to become a significant health care innovation hub. The combination of a top-notch research university and medical school, the state capital, a supportive business community and several large and established health care technology companies give Madison a leg up on other comparably sized cities.”

Kiio
‘Provider of advanced tools for scalable delivery of individualized care’
Dave Grandin, Founder and CEO
“Madison is already a hub for health care innovation, the key is to leverage our resources and build upon our successes. That means an alignment of policy and practice embracing young talent and their needs—including capital, infrastructure (transportation, housing, office space), guidance and affordable support services.”

Kurbi
‘We build content recommendation chatbots’
Wes Garnett, Co-founder and CEO
“I am constantly blown away by the level of passion and innovation happening in the health-tech community. I believe all of the major pieces are in place, from startups to active investors taking big chances on our community to large employers like Epic. Madison is poised to become the pacesetter for what a functional health-tech community should look like.”

Anesis Center for Marriage and Family Therapy 
‘A private counseling center for mental health and wellness in Wisconsin’
Myra McNair, founder and owner of Anesis, was introduced to the field of family therapy by her mother, who directed and served the homeless population at the Life House in Duluth, Minnesota. McNair began working in the teen parenting center at Life House and was inspired by the strength, perseverance and resilience she saw in young parents. Later, McNair worked as a parent liaison at Madison Metropolitan School District and says she “came to realize how heavy intergenerational trauma is and that the school setting could not meet the needs of these families.” After the 2013 Race to Equity Report was released, McNair was alarmed by the statistics of incarceration and achievement gaps, which she considers “a huge motivation” for her to specialize in family counseling. [SL]

Lynx Biosciences (LynxBio)
‘Developing cytomics technologies to individualize blood cancer therapy’
Chorom Pak, President and CEO
“I firmly believe each person has incredible ability to affect change around them. And with the right symbiotic team, that ability is amplified exponentially. Our team brought multiple disciplines together to create a technology with real potential to define the way we treat cancer patients: 
as individuals rather than as an average. Our vision of transforming the future of health care and my team are what inspire and drive me to build and grow LynxBio.”

Moxe Health
‘Provides solutions for health systems and plans to better collaborate’
Dan Wilson, CEO
“We help our clients work more efficiently by removing administrative friction that limits health plan and providers communication. As consumers of health care, we all benefit when our medical information is available to those tasked with our care. My goal with Moxe is to enable secure, timely access to the information that will move our health care system forward.”

Native American Center for Health Professions, UW-Madison
‘Enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation of Native American health professionals’
Danielle Yancey, Director
“Since NACHP’s establishment in 2012, there has been a 250 percent increase in the number of Native American medical school applicants. ... Through our partnerships with tribes, we have also provided mentoring as well as research, electives, internships, rotations and preceptorship opportunities for Native and non-Native students that focus on tribal health and wellness. The greatest impact of this work is to increase the representation of Native health professionals.”

Propeller Health
‘Help patients and physicians better manage asthma and COPD’
David Van Sickle,Co-founder and CEO
“Propeller provides digital interfaces and experiences to help people simplify and personalize the day-to-day experience of their disease and its care and treatment. In short, we aim to make it easier for them and their physicians to improve their respiratory health with less effort. That means more days free of symptoms, fewer emergency room visits, fewer hospitalizations and lower costs of care.”

Safe Communities
‘Builds partnerships to save lives, prevent injuries and make our community safer’
Cheryl Wittke, Executive director
“We have the opportunity to spare so many families the unspeakable pain of losing a loved one to a preventable injury by pulling together as a community. I love working with diverse partners—from health care to law enforcement to nonprofit and school prevention staff, church, neighborhood and business leaders—to address Madison [and] Dane County’s top causes of serious injury.”

Wellbe Inc.
‘Wellbe’s Connected Care system empowers patients for deeper engagement and better outcomes’
James Dias, Founder and CEO
“The Madison area has tremendous potential for becoming a health care innovation hub. We have a unique history of progressive models for health services. We have a deep well of talent from the UW schools of medicine, nursing and pharmacy. And we have a strong foundation of successful technical innovation companies that are already engaging with clients and partners across the U.S. Building on these strengths can advance Madison as a national hub for health care innovation.”

Forward Health Group
‘We help doctors identify patients that need their attention.’
Michael Barbouche, founder and CEO of Forward, has had a long career in the health field, influenced by three individuals. Professor emeritus Odin Anderson of the University of Wisconsin–Madison saw “untapped potential” in Barbouche and got him interested in exploring the intersection between policy and business in health care. His wife Ellen, an internal medicine physician, helped him see the need for health care innovation. But it was Barbouche’s friend Sue Pelatzke, who passed away from cancer a few years ago, who inspired him the most. He says she didn’t have the benefit of innovative data to help her. Creating Forward Health Group was a way for Barbouche to weave his data-driven work to help “real” people. [SL]

More Smiles Wisconsin 
‘Ensures access to quality dental care to low-income populations’
Curtis Henderson, executive director* of More Smiles Wisconsin, developed a passion for helping those in need after seeing his father—who eventually died from colon cancer—rely on the kindness of family and friends during his terminal illness. It wasn’t until he received his master’s degree in public health that he decided to focus on increasing dental care access for vulnerable populations in Wisconsin. Henderson became involved with More Smiles Wisconsin and learned about the “magnitude of need and the ramifications” of lacking dental care. “It still amazes me today when I hear our work put someone back to work, gave someone more confidence or helped someone get their first organ transplant,” he says. [JZP]

Nordic Consulting Partners
‘Helps organizations improve the health of their patients and business’
Vivek Swaminathan, president of the managed services branch of Nordic, worked as an engineer in the manufacturing sector before finding the right fit in health care. That’s where he says he found fulfillment in putting his problem-solving skills to use in helping people. Swaminathan says health care is “fundamentally about people” and that it provides many opportunities to use technology, process and innovation to positively impact people’s lives. “I continue to be inspired by all the amazing people in this industry and am excited about not only the impact we have already made, but the continued positive change we can make in the future.” [JZP]

ACHC Wingra Family Medical Center, UW–Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
‘Provides care for underserved patients as well as community work’
Patricia Téllez-Girón, Associate professor
“Madison is very unique as all health systems collaborate together to provide the best care possible for all, including uninsured/undocumented individuals. We have several community organizations working together as well to provide for the most in need.”

The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
‘Transforms the health and well-being of black women and girls’
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Founder and president
“We have illuminated the issue of black women’s health and the impact of health disparities on women, families and their communities. As one supporter best said it, we have taken the issue of black women’s health from a whisper to a movement and done so in a city, county, region and state where black women and their families suffer the most daunting health and quality of life disparities in the country. We have rung the alarm bell and prompted our city to pay attention in a way it has not before.

Redox
‘Health care integration, simplified.’
QuHarrison Terry, Marketing director
“Madison is on the precipice of being the epicenter for health care innovation. What’s needed to get there are more local health startups to transition from being 12-employee gigs to hundreds or thousands of employees. We also need a few local acquisitions or IPOs to bring the national spotlight here.”

*Editor's note: At the time of M List selection, Curtis Henderson was executive director of More Smiles Wisconsin. Henderson has since enrolled at Marquette University to complete dental school and is now associate executive director for More Smiles Wisconsin. 

Return to the 2017 M List homepage.

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