Pitt Innovation Challenge 2021


The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2021

What is your bold solution to a challenging health problem?

Enjoy the highlights from the PInCh 2021 event!

The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) is a program designed to support diverse teams who generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems. PInCh provides funding and project management to help develop high-quality health science research that serves people and communities outside of the university.

Projects that help prevent and/or reduce a health disparity were eligible for an additional award, determined by a separate experienced review panel. A health disparity is “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion” (Healthy People 2030, US Department of Health and Human Services).

Congratulations to the PInCh 2021 awardees!

Full Awards Announcement

Get the full PInCh 2021 experience with this recap of our in-person event including project pitches, Q&A with the judges, and more!

$100,000 Award Winners

Healthy Teeth Family

Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description:  A family-oriented engaging activity box to prevent tooth decay in vulnerable children.

Team: Jacqueline Burgette, DMD, PhD; Peggy Liu, PhD.


Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description: A simplified endotracheal tube that prevents ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Team: Carl Snyderman, MD, MBA; Garett Coyan, MD, MS; Ross Beresford, MS; Lauren Grice; Garett Craig.

Parenting While Black: Healing and Growing Together

Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description: A program that provides African American parents with tools to promote positive racial socialization, mental health, and academic achievement for their adolescents.

Team: James Huguley, EdD; Kyndra Cleveland, PhD; Ming-Te Wang, EdD; Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD; Paula Powe, MD; Cecily Davis, MSW; Rachelle Haynik, MPA.

$35,000 Awardees


Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description: A doula model to provide dignity, legacy, advocacy, and support for individuals with advanced cancer in the Pittsburgh black community.

Team: Margaret Rosenzweig, PhD, RN; Robert Arnold, MD; Tanisha Bowman, MSW; Adam Brufsky, MD; Valire Copeland, PhD; Rev. Jamie Eaddy, D.Min; Daren Ellerbee, MS; Cheryl Harris.

The O2 Cube

Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description: A solar powered, supplemental oxygen system that can rapidly bring medical oxygen to rural health centers that lack grid electricity.

Team: Kilichan Gurleyik, D.Sc.; Mark Adkins, NPDP; James Newton; Anupama Shah; Jessica Starck, MS; Alyson Maguire; Anna Dzuricky; Zexi Liu.

TRIBUTE for Bereavement in Communities of Color

Recipient of additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description:  A training program for paraprofessionals in communities of color to provide Interpersonal Psychotherapy to reduce bereavement-related depression.

Team: Laura Dietz, PhD; Channing Moreland, EdD; Quiana Golphiin, PhD; Khavah Murray, LCSW; Rev. Dr. Jonathon Counts, D.Min, LCSW; Lena Verdeli, PhD.

Elevator Pitch Competition Awardees


Recipient of additional $5,000 health disparity bonus award.

Description:  A low-cost hearing screening plus amplifier device to improve clinical communication.

Team: Catherine Palmer, PhD; Jeffrey Vipperman, PhD; Erik Rauterkus, BA.


Description: A novel vascular stent coating process to prevent thrombosis.

Team: John Pacella, MD, MS; Ellen Gawalt, PhD; Jared Romeo, DO.