As a parent, grandmother and Valley Children’s Patient Family Advisor, I truly believe that innovation is a critical component to pediatric healthcare. It is fundamental to saving lives and creating healthcare systems that are meaningful to both patients and families.
In my professional career as a consultant with educational and healthcare leaders, innovation drives me to continually make things better. I am energized by my personal mission: “Is what I’m doing making life better for kids, families and communities of our Central Valley?” Coming from a family line of innovators, educators and business leaders, innovation is a pillar in all that I do. It continuously drives change to make the impossible…possible. Our family has literally grown up within the walls of Valley Children’s Hospital – oncology, cardiology, neurology, orthopaedics, pulmonology, etc. Innovation has evolved and saved the lives of my loved ones along our healthcare journey.
I was thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Valley Children’s first Hackathon and join in on a weekend that forever impacted my view of healthcare. In partnership with The Innovation Institute and Microsoft, more than 60 participants from multiple sectors came together for this three-day event that involved pitching ideas, problem solving and developing collaborative solutions. As “hackers,” we were grouped into small teams and were charged with solving pediatric healthcare challenges. Staff and physicians, business leaders, students from various universities such as Fresno State, UC Irvine, UC Merced and the University of Chicago, all came together for one single purpose: to help enhance pediatric healthcare for families.
It was the most incredible experience to contribute to a product that addresses a problem directly impacting families of the Central Valley. To do this, we had access to healthcare specialists, innovators, technology scientists and so many brilliant minds from across the United States. It was a one-of-a-kind experience presenting our team’s solution to a panel of Microsoft, Amazon and LRV Health professionals, as well as a healthcare venture capitalist. Our pitch landed us in third place of the competition!
Together, we all learned from one another, collaborated through innovative exchange and accelerated solutions in a very short amount of time. I’ve participated in other Hackathons, but Valley Children’s orchestrated and facilitated a superb experience that was meaningful to participants like me and families of the Central Valley.
Families fully understand what they need in caring for their loved ones. They directly experience challenges in pediatric healthcare and bring so much value and expertise in solving these challenges. Innovation is a critical lifeline to enhancing and creating opportunities to advance what our families need. Coming together from our various experiences and different perspectives, with a steadfast goal to find solutions not only strengthens communities, but also enlightens our families and healthcare teams with endless possibilities for the future. As a community, we need families to voice their ideas, partner to engage for their loved ones and bring their tremendous value to Valley Children’s Hospital. Every family brings value to their healthcare journey. Connecting, communicating and collaborating are key. If you are interested in participating in Valley Children’s next Hackathon, learn more about how to get involved here! Together, let’s “hack away” for children and families of the Central Valley…and find solutions together.
About the Author
Renee Perez-Mora is an organizational consultant and is a co-chair of Valley Children's Patient Family Advisory Council. She also sits on Valley Children's IPSO and VASC Committees.
Valley Children’s is bringing people together for a virtual innovation challenge to combat a major issue affecting the health of kids in the Central Valley: food insecurity. Join us for our next Hackathon, Hacking Hunger: No Child Goes Hungry on September 17 -19, 2021. We’ll have more to come on this exciting event in the coming days!