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Thursday, June 01, 2023 — Houston, TX

Ion, Methodist announce partnership

Kelton Keck / Thresher

By Viola Hsia     9/13/22 11:16pm

Last month, the Ion announced its first health care-centric partnership with Houston Methodist, with the goal of developing new technologies for digital health. The Ion is the flagship building of Rice’s Innovation District in Houston’s Third Ward.

President Reginald DesRoches said that building new partnerships and sharing resources will allow for the expansion of digital innovation in health care.

“Rice is thrilled to play its part, and we celebrate our shared commitment with Houston Methodist to meaningful community engagement,” DesRoches said.

DesRoches said this is not the first partnership between the two entities. The new Houston Methodist-Rice University Center for Human Performance is currently under construction inside Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice and Methodist are also collaborating with the Center for Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces to expand work in neurorobotics.

“With exciting, forward-thinking partnerships like this, we always hope that solutions to some of our country’s and the world’s major challenges are discovered and implemented in ways that impact the greater good,” DesRoches said.

Jan Odegard, the executive director of the Ion, said that while the Methodist’s partnership with Rice is primarily research based, the partnership with the Ion will focus on creating a space where the ideas can directly be engaged with leading health care providers.

“The Ion partnership will be translational and entrepreneurial, offering a place to move from research and ideas into opportunities to engage directly with a leading health care provider without the overhead of getting inside the hospital on day one,” Odegard said. “We’re also excited to have Houston Methodist’s people participating in the Ion community, connecting with start-ups and other innovators involved in our programming.”

Michelle Stansbury, vice president of innovation and information at Houston Methodist, said the partnership would allow both Rice and Methodist to tap into and foster talent in the biotechnology world.

“We’re pretty excited because we do believe that [the partnership] will be able to open up and generate new ideas from individuals who are coming into [the Ion] to help us really transform health care, which is what Houston Methodist has been trying to do at least in the digital space for the last four years,” Stansbury said.

Odegard said he hopes the project will focus on certain communities in Houston, including Third Ward.

“We are always interested in finding ways to develop programming and partnerships that are inclusive of all communities, including the Third Ward,” Odegard said. “We also want to provide access to opportunities in Houston industries that have the greatest potential to create good jobs and strong prospects for growth: energy, technology and health care.”

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