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Preventing Disability in High-Risk Stroke Patients
Episode

Sandra Saldana, CEO and Co-Founder at Alva Health

Preventing Disability in High-Risk Stroke Patients

Dr. Sandra Saldana, CEO and Co-Founder at Alva Health, has always been passionate about building things that don’t exist, doing things that are unprecedented, and building something from scratch. This passion drove her to entrepreneurship in the medtech space and she has dedicated her whole life and career to the healthcare space. 

In this episode of the Outcomes Rocket MedTech, Dr. Saldana discusses how her company automated the process of stroke symptom recognition and emergency response without relying on the user to have input. She explains the value prop of the  Alva wristband for both patients and insurance, setbacks and insights, and more. 

It’s estimated that about one in four U.S. adults over the age of twenty-five actually have a high risk of stroke. Alva’s wristband enables around-the-clock continuous long-term monitoring of stroke symptoms in a remote way, using a lightweight, user-friendly, unobtrusive form factor. Find out more about this innovative product in this interview.

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Preventing Disability in High-Risk Stroke Patients

About Dr. Sandra Saldana

Dr. Saldana is the Co-Founder and CEO of Alva Health. Prior to Ava Health, she was the vice president of consulting and sales for a branding agency in the pharma and medical device industry, advising pharmaceutical and medical device company executives on strategic branding, marketing, and communications initiatives. She brings both technical and business experience to the company. She currently coordinates all company activities while contributing to the research, study, design, and product development strategy. Dr. Saldana received a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and an MBA in Health Care Management from the Yale School of Management.

Preventing Disability in High-Risk Stroke Patients with Sandra Saldana, CEO and Co-Founder at Alva Health: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Preventing Disability in High-Risk Stroke Patients with Sandra Saldana, CEO and Co-Founder at Alva Health: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Paul Grand:
Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in. This is Paul Grand in the Outcomes Rocket MedTech podcast. I’m very excited to have you here with us today. If you haven’t heard me before. I’m the founder and CEO at MedTech Innovator, the world’s largest medical device accelerator. You can learn more about us at MedTechInnovator.Org. Look for a link in the show notes to MedTech Innovator. In this podcast series, I’m interviewing innovators and stakeholders who are working to improve outcomes in the medtech industry. There’ll be a link in the show notes to this post about this episode on LinkedIn. I invite you to join the conversation by clicking that link, sharing your thoughts, and getting to know our guest. That’s our point today. So let’s introduce today’s guest, Sandra Saldana. Dr. Saldana is the co-founder and CEO of Alva Health. Prior to Ava Health, she was the vice president of consulting and sales for a branding agency in the pharma and medical device industry, advising pharmaceutical and medical device company executives on strategic branding, marketing, and communications initiatives. She brings both technical and business experience to the company. She currently coordinates all company activities while contributing to the research, study, design, and product development strategy. Dr. Saldana received a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and an MBA in Health Care Management from the Yale School of Management. Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket MedTech, Sandra.

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Thank you so much, Paul. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.

Paul Grand:
Well, I’m really happy you’re here for our listeners. Dr. Saldana is not only an accomplished leader, but she’s also one of the finalists in the MedTech Innovator 2021 competition, which is really exciting because this is out of over 1100 companies that applied this year. She made it to the top five. She’s going to be competing on September twenty-ninth for the first prize of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars non-diluted funding, which is pretty exciting. So I’m really excited to share her story with you today and get to know her a little better. So, Sandra, let’s start off and just go back to the beginning a little bit about what inspires you and your work in the medtech industry.

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much for that introduction and again for the opportunity to be here today, and we’re super excited to be part of the finalists in the competition, so we’re really excited about that. I guess to start off what really inspires me to be in the medtech industry, starts with just a fundamental desire to be a builder. So I’ve always been passionate about building things that don’t exist, doing things that are unprecedented, and building something from scratch. So that’s really what drove me to entrepreneurship. But specifically in med-tech, I’ve really dedicated my whole life and my career to the health care space. So I started my career doing cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center, working on big problems that are life-threatening and affect people. And I’ve really always wanted to drive impact to patients and really be able to positively affect human health. The next step after my Ph.D., I went into the industry and had an opportunity to work with pharmaceutical executives and medical device executives, and I really had a chance to see face to face how these executives operate and the kind of challenges that they come across. And that’s really what gave me that that window into the industry. And it really prompted me to go ahead and take the plunge and start a business. And I felt that medical devices, in particular, they’re relatively shorter timelines to market as compared to the pharmaceutical industry. And so that’s really what attracted me to med-tech, and there’s also a tremendous opportunity to just drive products that affect many, many millions of people all across the country. That’s really what makes me really passionate about being in medtech. Now what we’re working on at Alva Health is we are developing a solution that is going to help millions of people to detect stroke sooner as it’s happening so that they can have access to lifesaving therapies. And this is a massive problem. It’s estimated that about one in four U.S. adults over the age of twenty-five actually have a high risk of stroke. So that’s a huge number of people that can be at risk and could potentially be helped by this technology that we’re building at Alva Health. So that’s really what keeps me going. Having this tremendous opportunity to build a product that didn’t exist before and can actually solve a problem that has a high unmet need and can really, really make a difference in the lives of millions of people.

Paul Grand:
And that’s really inspiring. Sandra, I’m really glad that you kind of brought up that point about the difference between pharma and medtech. Like you, I kind of feel the same way. I feel that we can make a major impact on patients’ lives. We can do it maybe a little faster in terms of our development path. It’s not so binary, like does it work? does it not work like you usually have with a lot of pharma? And I think there are really great opportunities to make a major impact in a way that doesn’t require drug therapy, not the drug therapy is bad. It’s just it’s fun to be able to do this a different way. So I really like here in the background and you told us a little bit about already about what you’re doing at Elva, but give me the founding story kind of like, you know, what was that aha moment that made you say, Hey, I’m going to start a company to solve this problem?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah. So I guess the idea for Alva Health really came from my co-founder, Dr. Kevin Sheth, who’s a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He’s a stroke neurologist, and he comes across this problem every single day. His biggest frustration was being a neurologist, getting phone calls from the emergency room, constantly asking, can we, you know, we have a stroke patient? Can we treat them with TPA? And just having that frustration where nine out of 10 times the patient has just arrived in the hospital way too late and they’re not within the treatment window to benefit from the available therapy. And so it’s really a simple problem. There is a drug that’s been approved since 1995 to treat stroke, to treat ischemic stroke. It’s been proven to prevent disability. It’s been proven to save lives and extend healthy life in stroke patients. But it’s just that patients aren’t getting to this lifesaving treatment. So that’s what prompted him to really try to find a solution for this problem. So while he was at Yale and he’s still there, but he teamed up with our co-founder, Dr. Hitten Zaveri, who’s an electrical and computer engineer and also faculty at the Yale School of Medicine. The two of them worked on this idea, filed IP around 2016. I met them while I was doing my executive MBA at the Yale School of Management. We got together. We used to meet once a week on Fridays. We did this for about a year and a half, just kind of kicking this idea around testing, you know, kicking the tires and trying to see what the market potential of this could be. And eventually, we decided this is a really exciting opportunity. There’s a huge market here. If we can get it to work, this is going to really, really change the paradigm for stroke care. And so that’s the team. We all got along really well. We had a chance to work together before starting the company, but eventually in 2017, we decided to go for it. That’s how we started.

Paul Grand:
Yeah, it’s great to get that founding, that founding story. You know, it’s interesting because as a venture capitalist, I’ve seen a whole bunch of companies pitched me along the way who had the technology that you could stick in an ambulance, for example. And while the patient was being transported, you could say, are they having a stroke or what kind of a stroke is it? And a lot of those business models just didn’t make sense, you know, because the technology usually is just too expensive. It wasn’t something that was really going to scale well. And so ultimately, a lot of those businesses just haven’t succeeded. And then along comes Alva with a very, very different approach to diagnosing stroke in a way that sounds like it really could be accessible. And I’m really excited about that. So I want to share that with our listeners. So just kind of describe the product. What does it do? And in exactly what population are you going after?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yes, that’s a great point. And really, with Alva what we’re trying to do is something fundamentally different from the way that stroke detection has been approached in the past. Typically, this has been a problem that solves primarily by the health care providers within the health care system. And so we saw an opportunity to actually bring monitoring and to bring essentially bring the clinic home to the patient where they are vulnerable. They are known to have high risk and they’re likely to have to be alone if they do have a stroke. Many of these patients are going to be alone, and there’s nothing out there for them. So with that idea in mind, you know, we wanted to come up with something that is feasible. So with the changes in the wearables space, there has been a lot of work done around making sensors affordable, making them smaller, and making them easy to implement into electronics. And so with that kind of moving in this direction where wearables are now super accessible, consumers are adopting them. People are now used to wearing wristbands, whereas they didn’t five to 10 years ago. We saw an opportunity to use this trend towards remote monitoring at home and create something that people could use easily seamlessly in a user-friendly and unobtrusive way. So we are building a device that consists of two wristbands containing sensors similar to those that would be found in a smartwatch. We have a smartphone app that’s linked to the wearables and a cloud-based system that looks for the signs of heavy paresis, which is one of the signatures of stroke. It’s a very common, the most common signature of stroke, and this happens, essentially, it’s abnormal weakness on one side of the body that can be very, very subtle and hard for an untrained professional to notice and to act upon. And so what we do is we look for that continuously, and when we notice that something is abnormal, we immediately trigger an alert to the user. And if there’s no response within two minutes, we will escalate that to a trained medical responder who can call 911 and notify the user’s emergency contacts. Essentially what we do is is automate the process of stroke symptom recognition, and emergency response so that we’re not relying on the user to have input. We’re not requiring them to be trained. We’re giving them a safety net, whereas before they didn’t have one.

Paul Grand:
I got to say for our listeners again, as somebody who’s listened to tens of thousands of pitches, I can tell you that Alva is unique in what it’s doing. It’s super elegant in this idea for stroke detection that, you know, as you said, you’ve got this wrist-based platform. And it’s not just one wrist, which is what most of us are used to. Now it’s on to wrists, so you can detect when there’s a weakness in one side, which makes a ton of sense. And I’m glad you thought of it along with your co-founder. So that’s terrific. So when it comes to the patients that you’re going to be targeting, I don’t imagine you could say, well, everybody in the world, you just wear two wristbands all day long, and if we detect a stroke, we’ll let them know. It’s got to be a smaller target market with a really strong value proposition that you’re going after. So what is that target market that you’re going to be targeting and briefly explain what the value proposition is for them?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah, absolutely. You’re right. I mean, we’d love to say that this is a product for everybody who is at risk for stroke so anyone who is currently managing high blood pressure, type two diabetes, obesity, atrial fibrillation, and other conditions. I mentioned one out of four adults over twenty-five have some kind of risk factor for stroke, but it’s a very large group of people. So initially what we’re going to do is focus on what we consider to be an acutely high-risk population. And so that consists of people who have recently been diagnosed with a stroke or a mini-stroke because this condition is known to place somebody at risk of a recurrent event, which is much more devastating to the patient, but also much more expensive for the insurance company. There really is an incentive for us to provide something that can prevent that disability and prevent that cost. And the value proposition for the patient is life-saving, saving quality of life, enabling them to be independent, to retain independence as people age, to not have the need for a constant caregiver, and for the family members as well. That’s a huge value proposition to them. This peace of mind that people don’t have once they’ve suffered a stroke in the family, they know we’ve heard stories from people that are just at the edge of their seats waiting for something to go wrong. And so something like what we’re doing can really help those people to have peace of mind, to feel like there’s a solution out there for them. For the insurance company, what we provide is an opportunity to take some of that cost off the table for them. They spend over sixty-seven billion dollars each year paying for the disability that results from delays and stroke detection. They’re ultimately the ones that are bearing this burden. You see extended length of hospital stay, you see extended need for inpatient and outpatient rehab. And this is a tremendous cost that is easily solvable by something like what we’re creating.

Paul Grand:
As I said before, it’s elegant. This just makes so much sense because you’ve got a high-risk population. And by the way, when you say you’ve had someone who’s had a stroke or mini-stroke and they’re there, they’re at high risk for recurrence. What is that percentage? I mean, how often does somebody have a stroke, maybe in the first year or whatever time period we’re talking about?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah, great question. So the overall risk of a stroke recurrence is 30 percent within five years of a stroke, but about half of those recurrences happen within 90 days after the stroke or mini-stroke. So that’s a very high-risk window where we can immediately make an impact. But truly, depending on the profile of each patient, you could imagine someone being on our platform for much longer than 90 days if they have some of those no comorbidities that place them at high risk past that window.

Paul Grand:
Sure. I mean, if I mean, hopefully, it’ll never happen to me or anyone I love and the same thing for you. But if it did, I would want them to be wearing an Alva instead of wristbands. I mean, there’s no question at all that if. Fifteen percent of those patients are going to have a recurrence in the first 90 days. I’m getting that right, right? In terms of a stat.

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
15 percent,

15 percent in the first nine days. I mean, that’s huge. But you can pick up and as you said, you’re not dependent upon the user going, I’m having a stroke, let me call 911 or someone noticing that they’re having a stroke. I have a friend who had a stroke and his wife was the one who noticed. He had no idea. And you know, he got care immediately and he’s completely fine. You know, he might be a little sleepy and have to take some naps and stuff like that, but he’s otherwise, you know, deficit-free, and it’s because she noticed it right away. And had he been wearing your device, it probably would have picked that up because I think it was a weakness in one side that she was able to see. So I think that again, it makes so much sense. So, Sandra, you’re talking about the high-risk population. People are at high risk for a stroke. How many patients a year is that?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Eight hundred thousand people in the U.S. have an ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke each year, so all of those patients are considered to be high-risk for the recurrent event. And then you have an additional 500,000 people who have a mini-stroke, and that’s an estimate. So about 1.3 million U.S. adults each year have an event that predisposes them for a recurrence within 90 days.

Paul Grand:
All right. So doing some back of the envelope math and for us, Sandra, if you have 15 percent of the population that you’re talking about, of those 1.3 million people who are going to be at risk in 90 days alone, how many patients is that?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
So that’s about two hundred thousand people.

Paul Grand:
Two Hundred thousand people a year. That’s just a huge number of people who don’t need to have a second stroke or certainly don’t need to have a second have the damage from a second stroke. If we can detect it, you know they might become symptomatic, which is what you’re picking up and you’re going to be able to let them know and more importantly, their caregiver or know or the system know so that we get that patient the therapy they need quickly and hopefully, they just continue on with normal life after that, right?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Absolutely.

Paul Grand:
All right. That’s a great goal. So let’s move on a little bit then and talk about, you know, first of all, I just wanna make sure everyone understands again what we’re talking about here that 15 percent of that population who’s had a stroke, who’s been treated and is now at risk, hopefully, we can eliminate those people from having another stroke and all the deficits, again, the difference between just having a normal life and maybe having significant damage or even worse. And so I think that’s something for all of us. Again, just to understand the impact that we’re talking about here, it’s huge if this is ubiquitous someday. Again, let’s go back to, I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but there are other stroke detection technologies out there. Usually, they’re too late. Usually, someone’s at the hospital, and that’s when they figure out that they’ve had a stroke and that they’re not just drunk or whatever else the presentation is that they show up with. That’s a stroke mimic, but this patient shows up and they put him through some scans and they do all these things. And usually, it’s too late to get TPA, as you mentioned at the beginning, which is a really important therapy because it can just completely eliminate that clot again, for the listeners who aren’t familiar with it. Tell us about kind of what the standard of care is today and what makes Alva better and different than that, that standard of care?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Sure. So the standard of care today really is when somebody has a stroke, they’re treated, they’re discharged from the hospital and they’re sent home with a list of instructions to follow. You know, make sure you sleep. Make sure your rest. Exercise. Try to control your high blood pressure, whatever the known cause of the stroke, If it’s known and really it’s just instructions, look out for the signs of recurrence. If it happens, call us, go to the hospital so that acronym that you may be familiar with. It’s a public health campaign put out by the American Heart Association – face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty. So we’re taught to look out for those signs. But if you think of a stroke survivor, you know they’ve just been through a traumatic event and they’re just focused on rehab, they’re focused on getting back to where they were. And so they’re not necessarily thinking, what are the symptoms and know, is this part of my initial stroke or is this part of another stroke? So that’s a nerve-wracking thing to go through as a patient. And so that’s essentially the issue. There is nothing out there, nothing marketed for when patients go home. Now there are other solutions that are either on the market or being commercialized that can be applied and can help speed up stroke diagnosis, whether it’s on the ambulance or in the emergency setting in the hospital. There are solutions that can help triage patients to a stroke center if it’s known to be a large vessel occlusion. There are other solutions that can help radiologists diagnose the stroke quicker when they’re in the hospital. But again, these solutions require patients to take that first step. So they have to notice that something’s wrong. They have to call 911 in the first place, and that’s where the gap is happening. There really is nothing out there right now that’s marketed for these high-risk patients. That’s essentially how we’re different. So we’re enabling around-the-clock continuous long-term monitoring of stroke symptoms in a remote way, using a lightweight, user-friendly, unobtrusive form factor that doesn’t require any patient input. It’s super easy to operate, and it’s filling a gap that exists. So if our solution when it gets to the market, we’re going to actually drive a lot more patients through those established systems and through the adoption of those other solutions that are currently on the market. So we’re excited. I mean, we see ourselves as kind of very different, playing in a very different space, essentially the pre-hospital stroke space. So we’re excited to be part of this and pioneering a new type of solution.

Paul Grand:
I mean, I can tell you, I’m excited for you, too. Many of us who’ve met you along the way feel the same way. Everyone kind of hears this and they go, Wow, this is kind of that holy grail kind of a technology that a lot of us are always saying, Oh, you know, no one’s going to be able to do that, you know, like, if we could do that, what a difference it would make. But you know, no one’s really going to figure that out. But what you’ve come up with is, I said, is pretty elegant and what seems like a solution that’s absolutely achievable. But I know that along the way, there are always setbacks. As you’re on this journey to bring a technology like this to patients, there are always setbacks. There’s something that goes wrong. There’s something that surprises you, that you go, Wow, we weren’t expecting that. When we’ve got to deal with that, maybe you could tell us one of those examples. Something along the way that just kind of surprised you or was a setback as an entrepreneur. What was your key learning from that? How have you adapted?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah, sure. Entrepreneurship is never easy, and we’ve had our share of setbacks. As I mentioned, this is a very new approach. No one’s ever done this before, right? So part of doing something new, something unprecedented is skepticism, natural skepticism from the investor community, from folks who say, Well, how is this going to work? So I would say fundraising and the very early days when this is a totally new concept, no one’s ever heard of it before. That was a huge challenge for us. And so we’ve had to be very creative and essentially scrappy in how we developed our technology. We were fortunate to receive tremendous support from Yale University, where our technology was developed. We had a lot of support from the Neurology Department, helping us to do clinical studies to create algorithms that are sensitive and specific. So a lot of bootstrapping of the research and then around 2019, we were fortunate to receive funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, SBIR programs, which are Both tremendous programs built for just this type of technology, you know, groundbreaking ideas, new technologies for which solving problems, that for which there are no Solutions. So we’ve Been funded through both of those agencies. We most recently received a Phase Two award from the National Science Foundation. So that brings our total Non-dilutive grant funding to one point six million dollars, which has been a tremendous testament to the technology, the clinical unmet need, and also just an example Of how, I guess, coming across a challenge like what we faced, it really forced us to take a step back and understand what are our strengths and what are we really good at? And, you know, having this strong academic background, a team of PhDs of MDS and scientists who spent our lives, I mean, doing research and scientific research, that’s the true strength. So coming across this challenge with fundraising really forces to be creative and pursue those avenues, and it’s paid off. We’re very fortunate to have that support.

Paul Grand:
I’m really happy to hear that you have that support, Sandra, because you really told a story there that I think a lot of people can identify with if they’re in the med tech space, which is that the investors at the really early stages that those fundamental early stages who you would think would be, you know, there in droves because we’re changing lives and improving outcomes and all those things, they’re usually not there or if they are, they’re angel investors and somebody maybe you’ve come across who’s a friend or something like that or family. But most of those people investing at those super early stages aren’t those amazing risk-takers that we all hear about and think about and venture capital. Most of them are moved over to other industries, and they’re funding, you know, the next photo-sharing app or something or the next social media. So the problem is that that is a space key gap and getting funding from SBR, from NIH, NSF is a real opportunity that a lot of people miss out on. We actually did some research recently with Deloitte on the companies that were applying to Medtech Innovator, and we were really surprised to see how few, you know, it was much smaller than we expected, actually. I’d gone for that kind of funding, and yet the money is there, the support is there, and that innovation that you’ve developed would not be here if it wasn’t for that funding, or it would certainly be difficult to have made the progress you’ve made without it. So I’m glad you tapped into that. So let’s move on and talk a little bit about what’s coming up. So I know you’ve got a clinical study coming up in 2022 to deploy your devices for four long-term monitoring of high-risk patients, and that’s going to be a big deal. So tell us a little bit about that. You know, what’s exciting about that?

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah. So we’re super excited. So through that funding from NSF and NIH, we’ve been able to create essentially our own custom solution that is amenable for long-term continuous monitoring. As I was mentioning, you know, easy to use for the patient and without requiring that clinician or trained professional to operate. So we’ve spent a lot of time doing some of that work, creating something that we could put out there and send patients home with our devices and start doing continuous long-term monitoring with our custom solution. So we’re really excited. We’re in the planning stages right now. We’re hoping to kick off our clinical trial in Q1 of 2020, too. And so we’ll be recruiting those subjects at Yale-New Haven Hospital and they will be stroke survivors, survivors, and these high-risk patients who really are vulnerable in need of our solution. So we’ll also be obviously seeking to start collecting some of that health economics research data and start understanding the impact of our solution on the cause. And so we’re excited to start that process. So yeah, that is really exciting.

Paul Grand:
As an entrepreneur, I can tell you myself, there is nothing better than seeing your product actually being used and in your case, to actually have your devices doing monitoring of the high-risk patients you’re targeting, that’s going to be a really fun opportunity for you. I know for your team and for everybody, there’s going to be a lot of smiles as you see these things going on, patients and people walking out the door or using the technology at home. So that’s really exciting, you know? So we’ve talked a lot, Sandra, about your story, about the inspiration about the technology itself with the value proposition is which again, I believe is very high. You don’t often hear about technologies that really have the opportunity to completely eliminate a category of problems in the health care system. They might slightly improve things. They might things make things a little cheaper, a little faster, a little better. But we’re here on the Outcomes Rocket, we’re trying to make a difference in outcomes, and this is one that I think again, why you were selected for Medtech Innovator as well and why you’re in the finals is that this one really can have a massive impact on outcomes. So I applaud you for that. I’d love you to kind of reflect back on this conversation and if there are any closing thoughts you want to share for people, whether it’s something that we haven’t talked about yet, that you think people should know or you know, or maybe a nugget of wisdom for the entrepreneurs out there. Anything you want to share. And then also let us know where the Outcomes Rocket listeners can get in touch with you.

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Yeah, I would say as a closing thought, it’s a really great time to be a Medtech innovator. There are so many great solutions coming out of universities there. You’re seeing a lot of people entering this health care space, people who weren’t before interested in affecting human health, taking a crack at solving huge problems. And so it’s a super exciting time to be part of this industry. And I would say to any aspiring entrepreneurs, any scientists out there who have a bit of curiosity about starting a company, I would say as long as you have a really big problem that is going to affect a lot of people that you feel passionate about, you know where you think you can make a difference, I would say, go for it. I always like to encourage people who don’t necessarily come from entrepreneurial backgrounds to take the job because you really have, you know, you bring a very different perspective to the industry and you really see a lot of magic happen when you bring unique perspectives into a new industry. So yeah, that’s my nugget of advice and people can find me. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter as well at Dr. Sandra Saldana and send me a note. Go to our website, www.Alva-Health.com And we have a contact us page. Just drop us a note and we’ll get right back in touch with you and please if we can be of help to you if you’re interested in participating in our study coming up, if you’d like to get involved in any way. We’re all ears, so please, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Paul Grand:
That is just great advice. I’m glad you made the call to people who might want to get involved in your study. We want people to know about your company. That’s a lot of the reason why we run Medtech Innovator in the first place to give entrepreneurs like you visibility and access to an ecosystem of support and get. The story out there is really half the battle here, so I’m really glad we had this time today, and I’m certainly glad that you were in Medtech Innovator as an entrepreneur and a participant in our program and that you were selected for that out of over 11 hundred companies and then you made it to the finals, which I’m so excited about that September 29th. So for again, for anybody listening, if you just go to the MedtechConference.com or go to MedtechInnovator.Org, either of those sites has information on how to be part of the finals, how to watch them. If you’re part of our ecosystem, how to vote. We’re going to be live and in-person in Minneapolis, which I’m really excited about, but it’s also going to be live-streamed. So any of you listening, you’re going to be able to actually see Sandra competing in the finals. As I said, which is the first place of $350,000 of non-dilutive funding, which will be a nice complement to all that NSF NIH funding. So I’m really excited that you’re here, Sandra, that you’ve been part of this and we’re excited to support you on this journey. You’re doing something really important, and I’m just so glad that you’ve been here on the outcomes Rocket Medtech today. So thanks for being with us.

Dr. Sandra Saldana:
Thank you so much, Paul. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you today, and I’m excited about the competition.

Paul Grand:
Me too. All right. So, listeners, we got a lot of advice today. I hope you enjoyed this discussion. You know, this is why we do this. You know, we want you to understand the journey that these innovators are on. As you can hear from Sandra. You know, this is not something where you just snap your fingers and people write you a $20 million check and you know you’re off and running. You know, this is a struggle to get these kinds of technologies out there. As big as a need, as there is in stroke, it’s still amazing that there isn’t someone who hears the story and goes, Oh, great, where do I write a check? You know, that will come later when Sandra has that clinical evidence from the study she was talking about, and she can say, Hey, look, our technology actually works, and here’s what the data looks like, and then investors will start lining up and they’ll say, Oh, great, we want to be part of this, but these are early stages. You know, that’s a challenge. So, you know, for all of you listening, understand that it’s OK, you know, that’s what this is like and that one of the top companies out there in an area of huge need is still out there, like I said many times, struggling for capital. So I want you to understand listeners that that’s OK and that you should go for it too, and that you should do everything you can to get that funding if you’re working on something important. So thanks for joining us here for these stories. Again, this is the Outcomes Rocket MedTech podcast. We put these episodes out usually weekly at least once a week, and this particular week leading up to the MedTech Innovator Finals on profiling all five of the finalists over these next several days. So we’re going fast and putting five of these stories out there, but typically it’ll be one per week and then we’ve got lots of other conversations to be part of. The Med Tech podcast is just one of several. We also have outcomes Rocket Pharma, we have Outcomes Rocket Nursing and we have the original Outcomes Rocket, which focuses on just leadership and stakeholders in the industry of health care hosted by Saul Marquez. So I hope you’ll tune in and subscribe to continue listening to these stories. And again, please join us on LinkedIn to continue this conversation. Look forward to seeing all of you again soon. Thanks for joining us today.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • There are great opportunities to make a major impact in a way that doesn’t require drug therapy.  It’s fun to be able to do this a different way. 
  • The overall risk of a stroke recurrence is 30 percent within five years of a stroke. About half of those recurrences happen within 90 days after the stroke or mini-stroke.  
  • Eight hundred thousand people in the U.S. have an ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke each year.  
  • Entrepreneurship is never easy.   
  • Know your strength. 

 

Resources

Websites:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/smsaldana

Twitter: @DrSandraSaldana

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