WHA, WI Tech Council Host Health Innovation Collaboration Announcement

February 20, 2020

Mayo Clinic Health System – Northwest Wisconsin Region and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire announced a health care innovation collaboration at a Wisconsin Technology Council Innovation event Feb. 18 on the UW-Eau Claire campus. The Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum – a collaboration of the Technology Council and WHA – helped sponsor the event.

The partnership between the Mayo Clinic and UW-Eau Claire is aimed at creating “the best pre-med site in the Midwest,” according to Timothy Nelson, MD, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic’s director of research and innovation for Northwest Wisconsin and himself a UW-Eau Claire graduate. The collaboration is designed to help harness the more than $13 million in grants the university has received since 2012 to bolster research in STEM and STEM-related disciplines. UW-Eau Claire recently gained approval for a new neuroscience major and is awaiting approval for proposed major programs in biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and other relevant areas.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt said that broadening pre-med options beyond the usual “hard sciences” of biology and chemistry to include offerings in medical technology and the humanities can aid health care developments focused on solving some of the current problems facing health care, such as physician and other clinician burnout.

Dr. Nelson noted that northwest Wisconsin – and Eau Claire in particular – already hosts a number of businesses in the medical technology industry. The collaboration will help both entities, he said, with the university helping “invent the workforce of tomorrow” while the Mayo Clinic can benefit from innovate technological advancements created by students who are able to seek solutions free from inertia bias.

“Lots of students ask, ‘why not?’ when it comes to new ideas,” Dr. Nelson said. “Through Eau Claire we can infuse the ‘why not’ attitude into Mayo.”

This story originally appeared in the February 20, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter