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Academic Entrepreneurship Training: Use of e-Book in Awareness-to-Action Program

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Innovation Ecosystem implemented an Awareness to Action Program as educational training for its medical professionals involved in translating science & technology into health transformation. Course directors share their implementation story.

Published onApr 04, 2024
Academic Entrepreneurship Training: Use of e-Book in Awareness-to-Action Program
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Summary

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Innovation Ecosystem (IE) implemented an Awareness to Action Program as educational training for its medical professionals involved in translating science and technology into health transformation via commercialization.

  • The Academic Entrepreneurship (AE) book provided the topic areas of focus for the program and the approach was flexible enough that program developers could cater the content to specific needs of participants and recommendations of speakers.

  • IE used Endsley’s Situation Awareness Theory to build a program model that posited that innovators must first be aware of what AE is before deciding to engage in training and/or innovative activities.

  • Course curricula was designed using adult learning theory that prioritizes experiential learning and personal relevance.

  • The AE Program included a series of informal “awareness” sessions involving one-hour storytelling by academic entrepreneurs followed by questions from the audience. This was followed by enrolling 28 participants in a 7-week course that met one day per week for 3 hours, culminating in course-long projects where they provided “consulting” to medical device projects at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

Introduction

The Academic Entrepreneurship for Medical and Health Scientists book has been a reliable, dynamic resource for individual learners, mentors and educators wanting to learn more about Academic Entrepreneurship (AE)-- or the intentional focus on translating science and technology developed in academic settings into health transformation via commercialization routes for larger scale uptake. Since the AE book launched on PubPub in fall of 2021, approximately 37,000 users (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) have conducted 90,000 pageviews, demonstrating keen interest in the topic.

Recently, the content was used for an exciting new venture – a tool for designing and implementing educational programming for medical professionals in Academic Entrepreneurship. The Academic Entrepreneurship: Awareness-to-Action Program was administered for the first time in 2023 at CHOP, by the IE. Plans are underway to implement the program again in 2024.

Situation Awareness Theory-Guided Program Design

The “Awareness to Action” program was built upon a model using Endsley’s Situation Awareness Theory (Endsley), which recognizes the importance of situation awareness in human decision making. We posited that innovators must first be aware of what AE is before deciding whether to engage in comprehensive training and/or innovative activities. The program entailed two parts.

  1. Build Awareness: Titled Weaving Academic Entrepreneurship into your Career Path, these sessions were informal, low-pressure opportunities for those new to Academic Entrepreneurship to learn what AE is, ask questions, and determine whether they would like to pursue further training in the field. These were 1-hour storytelling sessions where Academic Entrepreneurs told their relatable stories of being in the field and answered questions from the audience.

  2. Inspire Action: The second element of this program entailed a 7-week course titled Academic Entrepreneurship: A Professional Development Course. Held over 3-hour sessions every Wednesday, this course introduced key concepts, skills and resources needed to succeed in Academic Entrepreneurship including defining a problem, early solutions, regulatory and legal basics, and building a business plan. Each week, participants learned content from an expert in the field of AE, then applied their learnings to a course-long project where they acted as “consultants” in the development of a medical device. Course curricula was designed based on adult learning theory-- specifically prioritizing experiential learning (Institute of Experiential Learning) and personal relevance (Priniski).

Book-Guided Curricula Content

Academic Entrepreneurship for Medical and Health Scientists was used in ways to create a successful Academic Entrepreneurship training program. These are concrete examples specific to the course presented in this article, but applicable to the creation or modification of other current or future AE training programs.

  1. The book provided a skeleton upon which to build the Awareness to Action content. The book was instrumental in creating the skeleton for the Awareness to Action program. As a program focused on early training for those new to AE, the goal was to identify comprehensive topic areas to focus on for both the “Weaving…” events and the Academic Entrepreneurship course. The “collection” topics in this book distill an intimidating amount of information into key content areas – which we used to identify topic areas of focus in the program. This approach was flexible enough that program developers could cater the content to specific needs of participants and recommendations of speakers, while still ensuring the program was built upon the clear mission of training Academic Entrepreneurs (Endsley).

    Figure 1

    AE Book-Guided Program Curricula

  2. The book was a valuable resource for further learning. A multidisciplinary group of 84 participants from CHOP and University of Pennsylvania participated in at least one element of the Awareness to Action program. As an introductory program, Awareness to Action did not address specialized topics (e.g., Orphan Drugs: Understanding the FDA Approval Process), or topics that include high detail tips, steps to complete, etc. (such as Application Guidance for SBIR/STTR Grants). The book was a complimentary asynchronous resource for participants that wanted more about a specific topic. We recommended specific chapters and collections for independent reading as part of our weekly recap – such as suggesting Finance for more information on funding mechanisms after week 1. As one participant said in a post-course survey: “I have been reading the digital book that is available on this as when the course was finished, I wanted to further my knowledge in all this AE. It has been a great resource/material in my downtime!”

  3. The book is a repository of AE experts that we tapped for consultation regarding course content, and to serve as faculty. With over 70 authors contributing (from fields including Academia, Venture Capital, Law, and Manufacturing), the Academic Entrepreneurship for Medical and Health Scientists book was an incredible resource for identifying experts in the field. For the Awareness-to-Action program, chapter authors provided advice on course content (e.g., suggesting what information from their chapter to include), and were a source for course faculty and panelists. Having access to this multidisciplinary (and multi-institutional) list of experts ensured relevancy, applicability, and accuracy of the program content.

Conclusion

Nearly all 28-course participants stated they would recommend the course to colleagues as part of the post-course evaluation. They agreed that the course gave them the tools to grow as an academic entrepreneur, and they gained both knowledge and confidence in their knowledge of the key topic areas. Additional details and preliminary evaluation data on the course are provided in this CHOP Cornerstone article.

The Awareness-to-Action Program is happening again in 2024 and is hopefully the first of many programs that will utilize the Academic Entrepreneurship for Medical and Health Scientists book as a resource to train people in AE.

Image 1

CHOP Academic Entrepreneurship Fundamentals' 2023 Cohort with Course faculty members 

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