Paths of Excellence: Healthcare Innovation
Person working with lap equipment

Ready to Innovate

In this Path of Excellence, explore how to solve unmet medical needs and bring better methods of patient care to life.

Better Ideas

Consider this path if:

  • You want to invent a device or procedure to solve unmet medical needs
  • You envision bringing better methods of patient care to life
  • You want to learn to navigate the health care business ecosystem
  • You enjoy the rewards of participating on a multidisciplinary team
  • You are ready to innovate

The Healthcare Innovation Path of Excellence gives medical students a unique insight into the rapidly expanding culture of innovation in biomedical research and medicine.

This path offers firsthand experience on the innovation process leading to new biomedical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, health IT, service line improvements or policy advances. Other collaborators include U-M College of Engineering, U-M Medical School, Zell Lurie Institute, U-M Office of Tech Transfer, and U-M Ross School of Business.

For students who are passionate about improving health care through innovation, this path provides the resources, perspective and exposure to explore all aspects of this career choice.

Med students are encouraged to join this Path in their M1 year; however, you can choose to apply during any year of med school. Students who sign up for the Healthcare Innovation Path of Excellence take the Foundation of Innovation seminar series during their M1 year.

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    To achieve recognition from the Medical School Dean, the Healthcare Innovation Path trains students to gain the fundamentals of both innovation and entrepreneurship through a hands-on learning program. During your M1 year, you will have dedicated time to participate in our “Foundations of Innovation” curriculum where you will learn various components that are critical to life science innovations, building a business case, and Design Thinking. The Healthcare Innovation leadership team will also help coach you on developing your very own innovative idea and creating various styles of pitches to communicate your idea to others.


    Before starting your M3 year, you will work with the Healthcare Innovation leadership team to plan out when it would be best to do your Branch-elective experience. The Healthcare Innovation path has many different opportunities for this requirement and will work with you in creating your own unique experience. Branch electives can be completed over a period of several weeks or in as little as four weeks.

    Venture Capitalist Elective – assess the commercial viability of a biomedical startup, learn how to invest and learn how to create a business plan.

    Business Development Elective – work with a Business Development team on various industry/company interactions, jump into idea consultations, and learn about managing strategic idea development.

    Student-Led Innovation or Entrepreneurship Elective – design and participate in your own Healthcare Innovation internship/externship, and develop a project with a researcher, faculty, resident, another project team, etc.


    Put your experiences together! You must complete at least two types of impact-related requirements. The last requirement for all Healthcare Innovation students is to present your capstone or Branch elective at a Final Capstone Presentation Event.

    • Expert advisor – participate as a clinical expert advisor to biomedical engineers developing biomedical prototypes
    • Present at a poster or pitch competition on your project
    • Launch a startup
    • Submit a patent application
    • Submit a white paper
    • Give a summary report on critical analysis for launching a program or idea, or developing a new prototype

    By creating meaningful educational opportunities, this unique program will help develop creative physician-innovators who can have significant impact on the future of patient care."

    MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology Director, Medical School Pathway of Excellence in Healthcare Innovation, Director of Endocrine Surgery Research Department of Surgery

    A fast-tracked collaboration leads to an innovative modality for bringing learners into patient rooms, and sharing best practices and findings with far-flung colleagues. Learn more >

    I like being able to work on creative and innovative projects outside of the standard medical school coursework and having the support to do so. It’s a great way to exercise a different part of your brain."

    Jake Claflin
    Class of 2021