Georgia Tech’s ATDC hosts federal health technology summit, mental health panel discussion

Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at Georgia Tech's ATDC, welcomes a HealthTech entrepreneurs to the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at Georgia Tech’s ATDC, welcomes a HealthTech entrepreneurs to the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

A core tenet of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) mission is the use of innovation and ideation not only to drive economic development in Georgia and beyond, but to improve and advance the human condition.

On Sept. 13, 2018, EI2’s ATDC incubator — led by its health technology catalyst, Kirk L. Barnes, hosted two important events, the first with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to connect federal health agencies with HealthTech startups’ solutions and technologies.

HHS, which runs the largest balance sheet of any organization in the world at nearly $1.3 trillion a year, wants to better connect with HealthTech entrepreneurs and the solutions they have for the healthcare sector and related fields.  The ATDC Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit was co-hosted by NASCO, a leading provider of information technology products and services designed help U.S. healthcare payers, and sponsor of the ATDC HealthTech Program.

“The main goal of what we’re doing here today is total a very inward facing organization and turn it outward, and give everybody an opportunity to interact with us,” said Ed Simcox, HHS’ chief technology officer.

The second event was ATDC’s Silence The Shame for mental health awareness, which was sponsored by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises and coincided with September being designated as National Suicide Awareness Prevention Month. That effort, which was an interactive panel discussion with hip-hop music industry executive Shanti Das and other leading experts in mental health and wellness, sought to highlight the role technology can play in mental health and in reducing the stigma of discussing depression and suicide as part of Das’ Silence The Shame initiative.

Ed Simcox, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses attendees of the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Ed Simcox, chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses attendees of the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

From left, Dr. Richard Wild, chief medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Atlanta Region, Chaouki T. Abdallah, Georgia Tech's executive vice president for research, and Kirk Barnes, health technology catalyst at ATDC. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

From left: Dr. Richard Wild, chief medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Atlanta Region; Chaouki T. Abdallah, Georgia Tech’s executive vice president for research, and Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s health technology startup catalyst at the Federal Healthcare Innovation Summit co-hosted by ATDC and NASCO Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Panelists address issues related to mental health and how to move away from the stigma of discussing mental health, depression and warning signs of suicide at the ATDC and Cox Enterprises-sponsored Silence The Shame Panel Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Ben Andrews)

Panelists address issues related to mental health and how to move away from the stigma of discussing mental health, depression and warning signs of suicide at the ATDC and Cox Enterprises-sponsored Silence The Shame Panel Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Ben Andrews)

Advanced Technology Development Center presents Silence The Shame for mental health awareness

Experts from technology, entertainment, and academia to address

mental health for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

 

Silence The Shame logo

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is bringing attention to mental health and the role technology has in raising awareness and providing tools to professionals and those seeking help alike.

 

ATDC is hosting an interactive panel discussion as part of former music industry veteran Shanti Das’ national mental health movement, Silence The Shame.

 

Sponsored by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, Silence The Shame brings together a panel of industry experts from the entertainment, professional sports, technology, academia, and science backgrounds to address the negative stigma associated with mental health, said Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s health technology catalyst and panel moderator.

 

The event, which coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, will be held at the Garage at Tech Square on September 12, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (The event is free and open to all, but attendees are asked to register here.)

 

Panelists include Das; Amber D. Barnes, founder of Motivate to Elevate, a health and wellness company; Yared Alemu, founder of TQ Intelligence, a mental health technology startup in ATDC’s portfolio; and Kirk Barnes.

 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it ranks as the second leading cause of death among those who are between 10 and 34 years old, CDC data show.

 

For Das, an Atlanta native and music industry executive who has worked with a wide range of acts including OutKast, Usher, and TLC, mental health is a deeply personal issue for her.

 

“My father committed suicide when I was seven months old and my best friend took her own life four years ago,” said Das, who launched the Silence The Shame initiative as part of her Hip-Hop Professional Foundation. “No one is immune to having a mental health struggle, or the situations that can trigger those issues, whether it’s divorce, or the death of a loved one, racism, or the PTSD of a mass shooting.

 

“We need to talk about mental health more and as we do so, we’ll begin to the end the stigma and normalize those discussions around our mental health and self-care, and silence that shame many of us have in discussing mental health.”

 

Barnes said the interactive panel discussion and Q&A will be forum for the exchange of ideas and sharing of tools and techniques to help attendees find ways to improve their emotional, psychological, physical, and social well-being.

 

“Having unique perspectives from people in multiple industries can help shed light on what mental health is and help people find real-world solutions regarding mental health,” Barnes said.

 

“Historically, there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in mental health in the technology space because it’s a subjective and personal subject. But now, we’re finding you can use technology to help give access to mental health professionals and the resources and tools they use for mental wellness and well-being.”

 

About Silence The Shame

Established by music industry veteran Shanti Das, Silence The Shame is an initiative designed to help remove the shame and stigma related to mental health. Silence The Shame, which aims to educate and provide resources for treatment, support, and care, is part of the Hip-Hop Professional Foundation, whose goal is to empower and enrich the lives of those in underserved communities around youth empowerment, mental health, and poverty. To learn more, please visit silencetheshame.com.

 

About the Advanced Technology Development Center

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the State of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising more than $2 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the State of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.