Everything you need to know about the 1st Patient Innovation Awards


The Patient Innovation Awards 2015

The Patient Innovation (PI) paid tribute to patients, caregivers and collaborators whose innovations have been diffused on the PI platform, by organizing an award ceremony, held on July 13, at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in Lisboa.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation (his speech can watched here and read here), Prof. Eric von Hippel, from MIT (watch his presentation here), and the six award winners, from Canada, EUA, Israel, United Kingdom and Portugal were the keynote speakers. The Patient Innovation Awards had more than 200 innovations in competition, and received the High Patronage of His Excellency The President of the Portuguese Republic.

The awards ceremony featured a full auditorium, and had a great feedback from the audience, keynote speakers and winners, as well as a strong presence in the media.

Speech of Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

Francisco Veloso, Dean of the Catholic Lisbon, opened the ceremony and said these awards show "the role of users, which when applied to health shows the enormous strength and the huge impact they can have. The Patient Innovation platform enables innovations to spread very fast and multiply their impact by millions of people." Watch his speech here.

Francisco Veloso, Dean of Catholic Lisbon, with Prof. Eric Von Hippel, MIT

The awards were given in three categories: Patient, Caregiver and Collaborator. The list of winners by this criterion figures as follows:

  • Louis Plante, from Canada

    • Disease: Cystic Fybrosis

    • Category:Patient

    • Innovation: The Frequencer™

    • Louis Plante suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, which has consequence the increasing risk of pulmonary infection, resulting from changes in secretions of mucus-producing glands. Louis used to spend four hours a day in kinesiotherapy (alternate beats in the chest and back) to reduce the problem, until that, during a concert, Louis noticed that the vibration produced by the speakers had a positive effect. Based on his experience in electronics, Louis developed the Frequencer™, a device that produces sound waves, which helps cleaning the lungs, by creating low energy resonant vibrations (acoustics), reducing mucus viscosity, which allows the mucus flow increasing in patients with Cystic Fibrosis. Watch this video here.


Video Message of Louis Plante

  • Lisa Crites, from USA

    • Condition: Mastectomy caused by breast cancer

    • Category: Patient

    • Innovation: The Shower Shirt ™

    • Lisa Crites was diagnosed with breast cancer. After having a mastectomy, she was told not to wet the suture area, in order to avoid infection in the drains of insertion sites. This made showering difficult. That’s when Lisa created a water proof shirt, The Shower Shirt™, helping other patients dealing with the same problem to shower normally, living with this condition with dignity. The Shower Shirt™ was already approved by the FDA, and is now available in 36 countries. Watch her presentation and speech here.

Speech of Lisa Crites

  • Tal Golesworthy, from UK

    • Disease: Marfan Syndrome

    • Category: Patient

    • Innovation: Exovasc ®

    • Tal Golesworthy, suffering from Marfan Syndrome, needed a cardiac surgery, and would be treated with anticoagulants for the rest of his life. He used his professional experience in engineering and his plumbing knowledge to design, along with his doctor, an external support for the aorta root - Personalized External Aortic Root Support (PEARS). Since this support was put in his heart, ten years ago, the same technic has been used in 56 patients to prevent the aorta rupture. Watch his presentation here.


Speech of Tal Golesworthy

  • Debby Elnatan, from Israel

    • Disease: Cerebral Palsy

    • Category: Caregiver

    • Innovation: Upsee ™

    • Debby’s youngest son was born with cerebral palsy. Despite of not being able to move or participate in the family walks, Debby didn’t give up. She tried several ways to “connect” her son to herself, which led to Upsee™. With the Upsee™, her son is able to “walk” as any other child, and can now participate in the family activities. Upsee™ helps children in similar conditions to “walk” and participate in social events. Watch her presentation and video here.


Speech of Debby Elnatan

  • Joaquina Teixeira, from Portugal

    • Disease: Angelman Syndrome

    • Category: Caregiver

    • Innovation: Helium Balloons

    • Joaquina’s son, Gonçalo, suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a disease characterized by developmental delay, inability to speak, convulsions and psychomotor problems. Despite of being six and able to walk, Gonçalo refused to stand up. One day, at a party, Joaquina noticed that the helium ballons on the ceiling were getting Gonçalo’s attention, making him to try to grab the balloons, and by doing so, he was standing up. On that very day, Joaquina put helium balloons all over her house and watched her son jump and walk, trying to grab the balloons. Watch her video and presentation here (available only in Portuguese).


Speech of Joaquina Teixeira

  • Ivan Owen, from USA

    • Disease: Amputees

    • Category: Collaborator

    • Innovation: 3D printed prosthetic hand

    • Ivan Owen, an artist who makes entertainment products, posted on Youtube a video with "mechanical hands". A southern African carpenter, who lost some fingers while working in his shop, contacted him and asked if Ivan could help him designing and make a low cost prosthetic hand. Ivan accepted the challenge and started making low cost prosthetic hands for children. Later on, he shared his digital files to make these hands in 3D printers. His work has inspired a big and growing number of volunteers and makers that are now trying to make a difference (e.g. e-NABLE). Watch his video and presentation here.


Speech of Ivan Owen

Nuno – The seven-year-old boy
who got a 3D printing hand and arm

Nuno is a seven-year-old boy who received a 3D printing hand and arm produced by Ivan Owen and Salomé Azevedo, from the Patient Innovation team, on July 14.

After the Patient Innovation platform was launched, Carla, Nuno’s mother, contacted the team to see if they could make a hand and arm for her son, based on 3D printing hand models created by Ivan Owen. Salomé analyzed the case, talked with Ivan Owen, and then realized that there were models currently developed by the Enable Community that they could be easily adapted to Nuno.

Nuno and his family were very excited to finally meet all the people who were willing to “give him a hand”, and make this boy’s life more colorful. So on July 10, this little fellow and his family came to Católica Lisbon to meet Ivan. The team took Nuno’s measures and evaluated his strength. Thanks to Paulo from Media Markt, all the pieces were printed on time, and the team was able to assemble all the parts in one morning. The little guy actually helped a lot by sewing some pieces of his new red and white gadget.

The hand and arm were fully ready and working on the next day, July 14, when it was finally given to its fun new owner.

The Patient Innovation team made a heartwarming video that features both the making of a 3D printed arm and hand, and also Nuno experiencing his new gadget for the first time. Watch it here.

Ivan Owen, Nuno and Salomé Azevedo

Nuno's 3D Printed Arm

Nuno trying out his 3D printed arm

The PI team organized this event to acknowledge patients, caregivers and collaborators’ innovations, and to inspire and stimulate more people to share their solutions with others on the PI platform.

Artur Santos Silva, president of Fundação Calouste Gulbekian, closed the ceremony with an inspiring speech (watch it here).

Speech of Artur Santos Silva, President of Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

The awards ceremony was sponsored by Fundação Para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Carnegie Mellon University Portugal Program, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Janssen, Lilly, MSD, Pfizer, Bayer, Apifarma, and RTP.

Prizes of 1st Patient Innovation Awards

Patient Innovation Awards "Family"

In the media

The PI Awards were broadcast live, via the FC Gulbenkian streaming link, and also had a strong presence in media.


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