January 01, 2016

Sharpe gift cultivates innovative thinking

Connie Hahn Sharpe, ’69, is no stranger to innovation. After all, she and her husband, Gary, built a healthcare product empire by thinking outside the box. Their company, Health Care Logistics, Inc., is an established international leader in unique and hard-to-find products because they go where other manufacturers won’t—or can’t.

“Innovation is not just about the product; it’s a way of thinking,” Connie says.

It is a way of thinking the Sharpes employ when developing creative solutions for their customers and one they hope to cultivate at the College of Nursing through a significant gift to support interprofessional innovation in healthcare. Along with annual research grants, their gift establishes a mobile innovation unit that teams of faculty, staff, and students from across campus can use to create new devices, therapies or workflows that improve patient care.

“Our college cultivates a culture of dreaming and innovation with faculty, staff and students as we believe it is necessary for continuous improvement, scientific advancement and high quality care that improves outcomes for all people. Through interprofessional collaboration, we will solve some of the most pressing healthcare problems with innovative solutions to transform healthcare and transform lives,” shares Dean Bernadette Melnyk. “We are so grateful to Connie and Gary for sharing our vision, and we look forward to celebrating the outcomes made possible through their generosity.”

Led by the college’s chief innovation officer, Tim Raderstorf, RN, and the chief of strategic partnerships, Laurel Van Dromme, the new program will serve to guide and support teams from ideation to commercialization because the Sharpes know that when it comes to new innovations, the best way isn’t always the easiest way.

“Nurses have always been innovators,” Connie points out. “We want to help them take their ideas to the next level.”

Providing students with tools and strategies to think differently about problems that arise in a healthcare setting not only empowers them to deliver the highest caliber of care to their patients, but also allows them to contribute to the industry in new and creative ways. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of the Sharpes, Buckeye Nurses will continue to dream, discover and deliver the impossible.

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