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The Making of Medicine

Innovator of the Year — Sixth Year in a Row!

For the sixth consecutive year, work emerging from UVA Health and the School of Medicine has been recognized as UVA's biggest innovation.

UVA's Licensing & Ventures Group has named UVA Health's Timothy N. Showalter, MD, "Innovator of the Year" for his development of a product that reduces discomfort for women receiving treatment for cervical cancer. The product, called the BrachyGel Vaginal Hydrogel Packing System, replaces the gauze that is now commonly used. The system was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration last year as the first product of its class.

“I’m delighted that Dr. Showalter was named as the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “Dr. Showalter’s research, and his ability to turn that research into a product available to patients nationwide, is helping women with cervical cancer and their families during a very difficult time.”

Dr. Showalter anticipates that BrachyGel will be used in 50 U.S. hospitals by the end of the year, with international distribution soon to follow.

“My motivation in developing BrachyGel was to do what I could to make the experience more comfortable for patients and to simplify the procedure for physicians,” he said. “For an emotionally painful and anxiety-inducing procedure, improving one step of it represents forward progress.”

Here are the prior Innovator of the Year recipients for the last five years:

2022: Marc Breton, PhD, for his work on our artificial pancreas.

2021: Amy Mathers, MD, for developing our in-house COVID testing and her work as chief medical officer of Antimicrobial Resistance Services Inc.

2020: Rebecca Dillingham, MD, and Karen Ingersoll, PhD, for developing the Positive Links app to improve HIV care.

2019: Lee Ritterband, PhD, for creating the SHUTi intervention to help people sleep better.

2018: Jeff Elias, MD, for his work pioneering focused ultrasound.

Great work, all!

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