Nathalie Garcia was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was just 16 years old following an accident during high school. Before her diagnosis, she was extremely familiar with IBD as her brother almost lost his life due to ulcerative colitis following a misdiagnosis from lack of medical testing. As a result, she grew passionate about improving health literacy and patient advocacy from realizing the flaws in accessing specialized medical care firsthand.  Nathalie is now a Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network Fellow and hopes to share her story with other members of the IBD community to reassure others they are not alone. Her experiences with multiple medications and the psychological and physical effects of IBD have increased her awareness of how IBD affects those diagnosed on a spectrum. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare and continue her advocacy journey alongside Lyfebulb to inspire others to find hope in spite of their chronic illness and advocate for innovative resources for those with IBD.

Dr. Scott Ketover proudly serves as the President and CEO of
Minnesota Gastroenterology, one of the largest independent
gastroenterology practices in the country. He is also the Chairman of the 3,000-physician member Allina Integrated Medical Network, an ACO. Dr. Ketover previously served as the Founding President of the Digestive Health Physicians Association, a national patient care advocacy organization of 1,800 independent gastroenterologists, and he is the Founding President of the 1,100-physician member Digestive Health Network. In addition to his clinical interests, he is also deeply committed to physician leadership and practice management, and is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Dr. Gerard Honig joined the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation in April 2017. As Translational Research Manager, Dr. Honig supports the
Foundation’s strategy to advance IBD research towards meaningful
impact for patients as quickly as possible. His primary focus is on accelerating development of novel, research-based products through the Entrepreneurial Investing Initiative. From 2013 to 2017, Dr. Honig founded and led a biotechnology company focused on novel treatments for gastrointestinal infection.

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Join us for an informal, chat-style discussion between two Lyfebulb Patient Entrepreneurs who have created business solutions based off of their personal experiences with IBD. Jon Margalit, CEO & Founder of Complete Start and Danny Bernstein, Founder & Chief Product Officer of metaMe Health lightly moderated by Lyfebulb CEO Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD. Both individuals really exemplify how having a personal connection to chronic disease can enable great innovation. Do you want to hear how others in the IBD community have created solutions from their experiences, as well as what the future of IBD innovation may look like? This event, part of our fireside chat series, will spotlight innovative solutions and adaptations, developed by patient entrepreneurs, in order to reduce the burden of IBD. We will be sure to discuss what patient entrepreneurship means as well as why individuals with a personal connection are uniquely positioned to create innovative solutions.

MINNETONKA, Minn., and NEW YORK (April 23, 2018) Lyfebulb LLC and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) invite patient entrepreneurs to compete in “Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge,” for the first-ever Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Innovation Award.

Established companies of all sizes founded by patients, or people supporting patients who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and who have created a product or service to address an issue encountered by IBD patients are invited to submit applications between April 16 and May 31, 2018.

“Lyfebulb’s mission is to reduce the burden of chronic disease,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “We believe patient entrepreneurs have unique insights into the needs of their communities and can create much-needed, patient-driven solutions for problems they face. In addition to the prize money, our events provide opportunities for exposure and collaboration among these innovative entrepreneurs and the expert jury.”

The 2018 Lyfebulb – UnitedHealth Group Innovation Challenge will recognize the top patient entrepreneurs developing innovative ideas for better management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) using healthcare information technology, medical devices, consumer products or services. Patient entrepreneurs are individuals with a chronic disease, or who have a close relative or loved one with a chronic disease, and have founded or lead a company bringing innovative solutions to the market place. Companies based in the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to apply through the Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge website, where more information is available regarding eligibility and key criteria.

After a thorough sourcing and screening process, 10 finalists will be selected by a joint steering committee composed of Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group executives. UnitedHealth Group will host the Empowering Patients event July 24-25, 2018, at its headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn. The finalists will pitch their solutions to an esteemed panel of IBD experts from the business, medical and patient communities. This jury will award three prizes to the entrepreneurs with the most innovative and impactful solutions: $25,000 to the winning entrepreneur, and $15,000 and $10,000 to the second and third place finalists, respectively.

“At UnitedHealth Group, we continually look for new solutions that can improve the health and well-being for the people we are privileged to serve, in this case for patients living with chronic diseases, including IBD,” said Dr. Deneen Vojta, UnitedHealth Group executive vice president, Research & Development. “By leveraging patient-driven innovation, we can accelerate getting the most relevant ideas, inspired by personal experiences, into the marketplace.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 1.3 million people in the United States are affected by IBD.

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

See, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.



Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO

UnitedHealth Group

Tyler Mason

Join us for an informal, chat-style discussion between two Lyfebulb community members living with Ulcerative Colitis, Sneha Dave & Grady Stewart, lightly moderated by Lyfebulb CEO Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD. We are all living during unprecedented times created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put new and additional burdens on those living with a chronic disease like IBD. Do you want to hear how others in the IBD community have adapted to the new normal? This event, part of our fireside chat series, will spotlight innovative solutions and adaptations, developed by patients, for a quarantined reality in order to manage chronic disease. We will be sure to discuss today’s IBD landscape as a whole, so we encourage you to submit any specific discussion topics or questions that you’d like us to cover!

Date: September 30, 2020
Time: 04:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Hillary’s grandfather died of colon cancer because he’d never been screened for this preventable yet tragically common disease. Because of him, and because of her grandmother who is now fighting terminal colon cancer as well, Hillary became a physician and trained at Stanford and Columbia in internal medicine and oncology. She then founded GutSavvy because she recognized it was not enough to treat cancer once it’s already occurred – that the bulk of impact is in prevention. Over 40 million people in the U.S. alone miss their screening each year, due to fear, inconvenience, and lack of awareness. Alarmingly, colorectal cancer rates are also rising disproportionally in the young adult population. The GutSavvy team is dedicated to the mission of democratizing colon cancer screening to stop this disease which affects all of us and takes away too many of our loved ones.

Liberated was founded out of personal necessity.  Prior to founding the company, countless hours were spent everyday preparing food my daughter could eat to maintain her specialized diet. While incredibly time consuming, I found the diet well worth the effort, as the symptoms of multiple auto-immune diseases, including epilepsy, psoriasis, IBD, and Hashimoto’s went into remission.  Seeing both the incredible benefit of the diet and the challenge of trying to hand-make food that couldn’t be purchased at the store, I decided to form a food company to help others with similar challenges, as well as provide delicious, gourmet, and healthy food for the population at large.

Jen Horonjeff, PhD is a patient advocate and founder & CEO of Savvy Cooperative. Savvy is a patient co-op that provides an online marketplace for savvy patients to share their insights with healthcare innovators in order to co-create better patient-centered solutions. Savvy grew out of a need that Jen saw as both a patient with multiple chronic illnesses and as an researcher and industry consultant. She noticed that professionals talk about patients–not with actual patients. Patient insights are invaluable, because many patients, like herself, have multiple conditions and co-morbidities they are trying to manage, and their priorities may be different than their care teams’. Jen got her PhD in Environmental Medicine at NYU, is a patient-centered outcomes researcher at Columbia University Medical Center, a Consumer Representative for the FDA, a speaker on the importance of patient engagement, and a longtime non-profit volunteer. In 2015, Jen and her husband rode a tandem bicycle from NYC to Florida to raise awareness and funds for one of the patient charities she supports.