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The UNC Center for Health Innovation is pleased to announce the winners of the eighth annual Innovation Pilot Awards. Proposals were sought from UNC Health and School of Medicine faculty and employees for innovations across a spectrum of areas including care delivery, new technology, advanced analytics, and more.

Two winners emerged from the many strong applications received. The proposals demonstrated clear dedication to improving care for our patients and strengthening our health care system.

The winning teams include:

Intermittent Theta Burst Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Adolescent Major Depressive Disorder

PI: Dr. Shahzad K Ali, MD, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry)
Co-PI: Dr. Robert K McClure, MD, Associate Professor (Psychiatry)

Adolescent depression due to untreated or undertreated Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a common and serious medical condition affecting many North Carolinian teens. Between 2008-2017, the youth suicide rate nearly doubled, becoming the second most frequent cost of death for 10-17 year-olds. UNC Health will test the use of intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation (iTBS), a low-burden yet highly effective treatment for adults recently approved by the FDA, to help youth struggling with MDD.

OneSCD UNC: Improving Care for People with Sickle Cell Disease in North Carolina

PI: Dr. Jane Little, MD, Professor (Medicine)
Co-PI: Dr. William Scheidler, MD, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry)

With an emerging population of adults coping with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), there is an increased need for expert management of the disease and its related factors to improve health outcomes and quality of life. However, many adults with SCD live in areas without subspecialty expertise, an issue acutely affecting the ~6,000 North Carolinians dispersed throughout the Piedmont and coastal regions. UNC Health aims to standardize screening, improve adherence to guideline-based care, and build personalized care plans by developing and implementing an integrated care model for SCD.

Thanks to all of the 2020 applicants for their interest and dedication, and congratulations to the winners!

Established by UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine, the Center for Health Innovation initiates, evaluates and supports the adoption of disruptive, patient-centered innovations in the delivery and financing of health care. The Center strives to provide rapid assessment, coordinated facilitation, program management, partnership development and funding for innovation. To learn more about the Center, visit