News Brief

JBS International Wins Phase II of HRSA's Grand Challenge Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms

September 26, 2019

North Bethesda, MD – JBS International is among the Phase II winners of the Grand Challenges sponsored by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to spark innovative technological solutions to critical maternal and child health issues. JBS is developing a mobile application that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to put clinical guidelines at the fingertips of health care professionals treating pregnant women and new moms experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD).

HRSA’s Grand Challenges include four topic areas: childhood obesity, care coordination for children with special needs, remote pregnancy monitoring, and opioid use disorder in pregnant women and new moms.

The top entries from the Design portion of the Challenge, Phase I, each won a share of a $100,000 prize per Challenge area. They used this seed funding over the past six months to develop and test their ideas with the help of expert mentors from related fields.

During what HRSA MCHB called “Demo Days” in September, teams competing in all four challenge areas demonstrated what they had accomplished in Phase II: Development and Small-Scale Testing to a panel of judges. In a format similar to the TV show Shark Tank, contestants had only minutes to make a winning pitch to judges (federal employees and experts in the field). The teams competed for a share of a $125,000 prize and to move to the third and final phase of the competitions in which they scale the innovation across social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence access to treatment and care.

“We combined our company's formidable medical and clinical expertise, deep understanding of the opioid epidemic, and ability to leverage state-of-the-art open source and cloud-based technology to win Phase II,” said Susan Hayashi, Ph.D., who served as project director for the entry. “We look forward to scaling our solution in Phase III to incorporate advanced AI training and features that address more nuanced clinical issues and scenarios.”

Read more about the HRSA MCHB Grand Challenges.

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