For Immediate Release: May 22, 2023
KANSAS CITY, MO. (May 22, 2023)—Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), in partnership with the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC), recently announced the winners of the 2023 Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize: Foliagraft and InforMedic.
- The first-place prize was awarded to Foliagraft, a medical device and therapeutics company that proposes the use of spinach leaves and stem cells to help burn victims and others with wounds and conditions that require a skin graft. Inspired by previous vasculature research done by biomedical engineers, the team removed all cells from spinach leaves, leaving only natural biomaterial. Easy to grow and cost efficient, spinach leaves are ideal for use in potential skin replacement products. Foliagraft was formed by Missouri University of Science & Technology students Abby Knoesel, Madison Husereau, and Aiden Armstrong. “This is something that can be used to help people who suffer from burns and can actually make a positive impact on their life,” noted Armstrong. The team received a $15,000 prize for its work, which will be utilized to further develop their prototype.
- The second-place prize was awarded to InforMedic. Formed by University of Nebraska, Lincoln students Tan Phan and Pranav Rajan, InforMedic looks to revolutionize the life insurance underwriting process by summarizing medical records and automating the rate classification process. “I think we can really provide software that allows underwriters to work significantly faster by accelerating the e-summarization process of medical records while also providing a suggestion on how risky the applicant actually is,” said Rajan. The team was awarded a $10,000 prize to help continue their efforts.
Prizes were awarded as part of the annual Regnier Venture Creation Challenge (RVCC), hosted by The Regnier Institute, on April 28, 2023. The RVCC is a business plan and pitch competition for new student ventures. In 2023, more than $90,000 in prizes were awarded, which serves to help student entrepreneurs launch and grow their own businesses. For more information, visit HERE.
The Blue KC Healthcare Innovation Prize was first launched in 2018 in collaboration with UMKC to promote creativity and innovation in the Kansas City community and provide real-world opportunities to healthcare students. The contest seeks ventures that can improve the patient/member experience through care delivery innovation, digital health capabilities, tools, devices, and apps, or other advancements that positively impact the value proposition.
Blue KC looks forward to continued collaboration with UMKC’s Bloch School of Management in awarding projects that demonstrate value proposition, market feasibility, financial feasibility, and most importantly, a positive impact to patients and consumers.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to health care and to improve the health of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at BlueKC.com.