Hartford.Health.Works. Takes Top Prize in Strong Cities, Strong Communities Contest

Trinity is a Lead Educational Partner for Project Winning $500,000 Prize in U.S. Department of Commerce-funded Competition

From Left: Representative John B. Larson; Mark Borton, president of Rising-Tide Health Care; Terri Wilson, executive director of BEACON; Tom Wenchell, director, R&D, Medtronic; Amy Brough, Trinity College director of institutional support; Leonor Snow, BEACON program assistant; Tim Gifford, founder and chief technical officer, and Scott Kozak, chief operating officer, Movia Robotics; Jay Williams, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development; Mayor Pedro E. Segarra;
Senator Richard Blumenthal; Senator Christopher S. Murphy
(Photo: Stephanie Ivers, City of Hartford)
Hartford, CT, June 5, 2015 – Several members of the Trinity College community were part of an enthusiastic celebration in front of Hartford’s City Hall as the top winner of Hartford’s “Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative” was announced on Friday, May 29. The winning team, Hartford.Health.Works. (HHW), was founded by BEACON (Biomedical Engineering Alliance & Consortium), Rising-Tide Healthcare, and Movia Robotics.

HHW will build on Hartford’s existing strengths in health care technology to make the city a hub of entrepreneurism and medical device manufacturing. Trinity, an integral part of the BEACON consortium since its founding, joined the HHW project last fall as a lead educational partner, acknowledging the inherent opportunities for students in the College’s ABET-accredited engineering program – research, internship, and capstone projects among them – as well as the pivotal role HHW can play in the renaissance of Hartford.

“Our involvement with Hartford.Health.Works. will enable us to leverage Trinity’s gem of an engineering program and deepen our ties to the health care industry,” said Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience. “We are eager to be at the forefront of advancing Hartford’s future and, along with our recent purchase of 200 Constitution Plaza, this initiative provides excellent opportunities for Trinity to contribute to a thriving city.”

“The HHW team has a winning concept to achieve economic and workforce development goals through STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education, job training, and job creation, and we are pleased to be part of the advancement of the proposal,” said Berger-Sweeney. “This initiative will create high-value jobs for residents of Hartford and we anticipate it will eventually influence more Trinity students to embark on their careers in Hartford after graduation. At the same time, it will spur revitalization in the city’s north end through the development of a multifaceted biomedical education and manufacturing campus, related industries, retail, and housing.”

The College’s involvement in the HHW initiative grew out of work on a proposal, BME-4-STEM, to support the development of biomedical engineering curricula for middle and high schools, including teacher-training, that Trinity faculty and students will deliver in collaboration with biomedical industry experts and nonprofit leaders. Engineering Professor Emeritus Joseph Bronzino, who is founding president emeritus of BEACON, and Associate Professor of Engineering Harry Blaise worked closely with BEACON members on developing the BME-4-STEM proposal, which aims to begin with teacher training in summer 2016. Their discussions led to the exploration of Trinity’s participation in HHW.

“It was Professor Emeritus Joe Bronzino who knew that Trinity’s strengths and President Berger-Sweeney’s vision would align perfectly with BME-4-STEM and Hartford.Health.Works.,” said Amy Brough, Trinity’s director of institutional support. She elaborated that a big part of the College’s role in HHW will be to support and advance collaborations with other higher education partners, both to strengthen STEM education in middle and high schools, and to create research, experiential, and internship opportunities for college students. “We anticipate working with two-year, four-year, and graduate-level higher-education partners,” she said. Initial partners will include the University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, and Asnuntuck and Capital Community Colleges.

Read more about the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative” here.