In the summer of 2014, Jefferson reintegrated Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH) and began the process of reinventing the academic health center. The basis for this transformation is our “Blueprint for Strategic Action,” which calls for Jefferson to operate around four pillars – Academic, Clinical, Innovation and Institutional Advancement.
As the Innovation Pillar, it is our job to foster ideas and convert them into products and services. The Innovation Pillar is where we test new business models and nurture entrepreneurialism among employees, students and the Jefferson community. We want to make a profound change by adopting new forms of value creation. Universities have always been good at ideas; Jefferson Innovation is going to bring those ideas to you.
It is our goal to create a Jefferson-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem to advance the commercialization of new technologies by supporting members of the Jefferson community through superior services, mentorship, education and partnerships in translating new discoveries into practical applications.
Rose Ritts, MS, PhD
Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer
Creative Brief: As EVP, Dr. Ritts is creating a world-class engine for innovation at Jefferson, advancing our commitment to developing products and services for commercialization, and in partnership with like-minded organizations, driving unique programs that transform how we deliver patient care and education and bring to market novel treatment therapies. In addition to driving innovation efforts for Jefferson Dr. Ritts manages the commercialization staff for the Office of Technology Transfer and Jefferson Accelerator Zone members who support the creation of transformative educational and programmatic initiatives within that group.
Background: With more than 20 years of experience in creating partnerships driven by emerging technology and new business model creation, Dr. Ritts is a leader in her field. In addition to her previous role at Duke University, Dr. Ritts managed emerging venture-capital funded newcos and served as the Director of Biotechnology and Materials at Sarnoff Corporation and Program Manager at the US DoD DARPA. While at DARPA she served on a number of government think tanks and review panels across DoD, NIH, NSF and DOE. Dr. Ritts received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and earned both her PhD and MS degrees from Stanford University.
Robert N. DeHaven, MS
Senior Contract Specialist, Thomas Jefferson University
Creative Brief: Negotiates and manages all Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) for Thomas Jefferson University.
Background: Joined TJU in 2011 after a career of more than 30 years as a molecular pharmacologist in drug discovery at both large and small pharma and in academia, including Adolor Corporation, Sterling-Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., and Johns Hopkins University. BA, MS, biology at West Virginia University.
Intellectual Property Specialist
Creative Brief: Manages Thomas Jefferson University’s patent portfolio working closely with inventors to guide them through the patent process from the inception of an idea through the grant of a patent. Responsible for compliance and reporting under the Bayh Dole Act.
Background: Jennifer joined the Innovation Pillar in 2016 after an almost fifteen year career as a paralegal where her practice focused on all aspects of IP prosecution and enforcement; corporate formation and governance; mergers and acquisitions; nonprofit formation and compliance; and municipal bond financing.
Creative Brief: Coordinates and manages innovation projects and programs. Jennifer also manages the Jefferson Accelerator Zone (JAZ).
Background: Having changed professional paths after an early career in media and radio, Jennifer has worked in a variety of fields, including real estate. She began her career at Jefferson in June 2015. Jennifer holds a BA in Media Studies and Communication, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
Donna Gentile O'Donnell, PhD
Vice President for Innovation Partnerships & Programs
Special Assistant to the President
Creative Brief: Designer of leadership strategies. Past roles include Managing Director of the Life Sciences portfolio of the Eastern Technology Council; President of the Franklin Health Trust; special limited partner in PA Early Stage Partners Fund III; advisor to a number of life science startups and venture capital groups; member of the CURE Board, distributing $11 billion in tobacco settlement funds over 25 years; the Boards of Trustees of Drexel University, Drexel College of Medicine, and Drexel Law; and PNC's Women's Financial Services Network Advisory Board. Served in the Rendell administration as Deputy Health Commissioner of Policy and Planning, and advises Senator Robert P Casey on health issues.
Public roles: Author of book Provider of Last Resort, columnist and TV commentator in numerous national and regional venues. Before joining Jefferson, consulted for non-profits and corporations on strategic planning and project implementation in life sciences and health care.
Background: PhD, University of Pennsylvania. Joined Jefferson 2013.
Greta Guzman, MPA
Manager, Business Development
Creative Brief: Responsible for identifying, developing, coordinating and implementing business relationships and commercialization of focused opportunities. Greta assists in structuring licensing transactions and Jefferson spin-in opportunities.
Background: Prior to joining Jefferson Innovation Pillar, Greta served as the Administrative Fellow for the hospital, a healthcare consultant and an international financial advisor. She earned her MPA in Health Management at New York University and undergrad at Villanova University, receiving an BA in Political Science.
Robin Sheldon, JD, MPIA
Vice President of Innovation Management
Creative Brief: Responsible for the oversight of the Innovation Pillar's daily operations, including the Jefferson Accelerator Zone. Evaluates the organization's needs, competitor positioning and policies to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurism. Teaches ethics of intellectual property.
Background: Before joining the Innovation Pillar, served as Associate University Counsel for Jefferson, a partner at Fox Rothschild helping entrepreneurs establish businesses, general counsel at half.com, associate counsel at Sanchez Computers and counsel at SEI Investments.
Creative Brief: Manages communications and web content for the Innovation Pillar.
Background: Anthony joined Abington Jefferson Health in 2012, working in community health and medical education. In late 2016, he transferred to the Innovation Pillar at Jefferson. He attended Penn State University where he earned a BS in Business.
Creative Brief: Robert assists the Chief Innovation Officer at all levels of administrative support, planning and research. Robert also supports the Innovation Pillar via event planning, meeting logistics and office management.
Background: Robert joined TJU in October of 2016 after moving to Philadelphia from New York, where he provided support to C-level Executives for 6 years in the publishing and advertising industries. A University of Delaware alumni, Robert has spent his career as an executive assistant focusing on process improvement and knowledge sharing platforms.
Creative Brief: Michael works alongside the Innovation Pillar staff, assisting in projects relevant to innovation and entrepreneurship at Jefferson. His specific responsibilities include surveying venture investments in target market spaces to identify areas of opportunity to create synergies among divisions, and supporting the Innovation Evaluation Committee with patent and market research linked to disclosed inventions and identifying potential business development opportunities.
Background: Michael joined the Innovation Pillar at Jefferson in August of 2016. He attended Cornell University for his undergraduate studies and later completed the post-baccalaureate premedical program at Jefferson.