Global Innovation Fellows team picture

Medtronic teams take on healthcare challenges

The Medtronic Foundation's Global Innovation Fellows program dispatches Medtronic employees to places all around the world.

Around the world, millions of people don’t have access to quality healthcare. Medtronic, working with healthcare advocates in the very communities struggling most to meet the demand, wants to help change that statistic.

“We have a universal mission to make sure people around the world have access to the best healthcare possible,” says Jacob Gayle, vice president of the Medtronic Foundation. “When it comes to making a difference, it turns out our greatest resource is our people.”

Medtronic teams up with local nonprofit organizations to tackle healthcare issues.

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Medtronic teams up with local nonprofit organizations to tackle healthcare issues.

In 2013, the Medtronic Foundation introduced the Global Innovation Fellows program – a company-wide initiative that organizes teams of employees from various disciplines, partners them with nonprofit organizations and Ministries of Health, and dispatches them to locations around the world. In most cases, the team comprises Medtronic employees from different regions and disciplines, working together for the first time, to help local healthcare leaders find sustainable and scalable solutions for their communities.

In one country, it might be educating the public about disease prevention. In another, it could mean improving health clinic records management. There are communities across the globe that need this kind of assistance, whether in developing countries or industrialized nations. One team spent three weeks in Memphis, Tennessee assisting a nonprofit clinic to modernize their record keeping which resulted in improved efficiencies.

“Being dropped into the program for three weeks is like an intense boot camp,” says Dr. Tim Denison, a Medtronic employee and Global Innovation Fellow who traveled to small villages in Ghana, Africa.

“Our challenge was to empower the frontline health workers so they could scale their coverage in a more economical way,” says Denison.

According to Gayle, the program is gaining momentum across the company, enough so that it can’t keep up with the demand. “I envision rolling out a program where every month a new team is going out to make a difference,” he says. “It’s very exciting, and it aligns with our Mission to alleviate pain, restore health and extend life.”