Mobile Design Labs and the End of Hep C?

The Rhode Island Foundation has named this year's innovation fellowship winners.

A doctor who wants to wipe out Hepatitis C in Rhode Island. And a designer who wants to see the state’s parks, playgrounds and vacant lots dotted with shipping containers recycled into mobile design labs.

The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that Dr. Lynn Taylor and designer Adrienne Gagnon have won innovation fellowships for up to $300,000 over the next three years to develop and implement their ideas.

"We congratulate Adrienne and Lynn on their forward-thinking and creative approaches to addressing challenges and creating change in Rhode Island," Foundation CEO and President Neil Steinberg says in a news release.

Taylor, an assistant professor at Brown University and director of Miriam Hospital’s HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection Program, says that HCV is a “time bomb” in the state, but that Rhode Island could eradicate the virus.

“Rhode Island has the optimal size, epidemiologically, cooperation between stakeholders, scientific acumen, and medical establishments that make it possible to be the first state to defeat HCV. With this fellowship, we can save money and lives in Rhode Island, and lead the nation in curtailing this epidemic,” Taylor says in the release. Here’s more on Taylor’s project, “Rhode Island Defeats Hep C”:

Gagnon, the founder of DownCity Design, says she hopes her fellowship will fund a generation of new ideas in Rhode Island. “I believe that by offering Rhode Island youth the tools of design thinking, we can create a generation of entrepreneurs, of creators, of engaged citizens who see challenges as opportunities and work together to solve them.” Here’s more on Gagnon’s project, “Innovation by Design”:

The foundation’s panel also named five finalists:

  • Girl Talk. Lynae Brayboy proposed an interactive smartphone app for girls ages 12 to 17 to reduce high-risk sexual behavior.
  • Solar Sail. Laura Briggs, Domenico Pacifici and Jonathan Knowles proposed an affordable textile photovoltaic system.
  • Project Get Ready Rhode Island. Al Dahlberg proposed a statewide electronic vehicle charging network.
  • Global Language Project. Angela Jackson proposed an initiative so kids from grades K to 12 can learn Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish, and better compete in the global economy.
  • The Compost Plant. Leo Pollock proposed creating Rhode Island’s first compost facility, which would be partnered with a microbrewery.

The winners were selected from a pool of 180 applicants, according to the release. This is the second year of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Innovation Fellowship program, which is funded by philanthropists Leticia and John Carter.