“We wanted to create an engaging forum to celebrate medical innovation, feature thought-leaders and role models, and inspire new ways of thinking.”

That’s how Stephen Boppart, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer for Carle Illinois College of Medicine, describes the origins of Innovation Grand Rounds, a new monthly event for the college that launched January 10, 2020.

Planned for the second Friday of each month, Innovation Grand Rounds will feature prominent speakers and successful medical innovators who will challenge and inspire Carle Illinois students and faculty.

“These sessions will bring together the whole college as a community, creating a collaborative networking event around medicine innovation,” Boppart said. “It’s an opportunity to come together, get inspired by a topic and a speaker, and then to have conversations with people you might not regularly interact with.”

As the world’s first engineering-based college of medicine, Carle Illinois’ faculty come from 10 colleges and units on campus, as well as the Carle Health System where clinical faculty are based. While the interdisciplinary nature of the college is key to its innovative nature, it also means that facilitating regular opportunities for interaction and conversation is critical.

“Innovation Grand Rounds will provide another opportunity to come together and be in the same space,” said Boppart. “That’s how new ideas and collaborations are sparked.”

The event’s format was designed to encourage an exchange of ideas. Each speaker will interact with a small panel of local experts who have been invited to reflect on what the speaker has shared and drive the discussion. Audience members are also given opportunities to share insights and ask questions. A few times each year, during months that have a fifth Friday, the college will present “Bleeding Edge Grand Rounds,” featuring especially prominent national or international experts exploring very new ideas.

The topic for the January 10 Innovation Grand Rounds kickoff was “Breaking Silos to See the Invisible and Treat the Incurable.” Featured speaker Samuel Achilefu, Ph.D., addressed the importance of developing integrative solutions in the fight against cancer. Dr. Achilefu is Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine, where he also leads an interdisciplinary research team at the Optical Radiology Lab.