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The UNC Center for Health Innovation has announced winning teams for the sixth annual Pilot Innovation Awards. Evan Dellon, MD, from the department of medicine’s division of gastroenterology and hepatobiology is principal investigator for a team that will study a treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis. To date, nine winning teams from the department of medicine have received Pilot Innovation Awards.

Dr. Evan Dellon

Evan Dellon, MD, from the division of gastroenterology has been awarded a 2018 Pilot Innovation Award. Dr. Dellon is principal investigator for “A Novel Steroid-Eluting Esophageal String for Treatment of Eosinophilic Esophagitis.” Co-investigators include Rahima Benhabbour, PhD, from the department of biomedical engineering, and Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, from NCSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

The team aims to be the first to apply drug-eluting technology to a string release system and the first to apply it to the esophagus. The incidence and prevalence of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) are rapidly rising and current treatments are rudimentary. Drug-eluting string technology is an innovate approach to deliver medication along the entire length of the esophagus for an extended period of time. The pilot award will be used to develop the technology and test its pharmacokinetics in a porcine model.

The Center for Health Innovations sought proposals from employees for innovations across a spectrum of areas including care delivery, new technology, advanced analytics, and more. To learn more about other winning teams, visit the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care Newsroom.

Other Pilot Innovation Award winners from medicine include the following:

2017 – PI: Claire Farel, Medicine/Infectious Diseases
“Infectious Diseases Discharge Outreach and Outpatient Retention (ID DOOR) Program”

2017 – PI Spencer Dorn, Medicine/Gastroenterology, Co-PI: Larry Klein Medicine/Cardiology
“Optimizing Procedure Scheduling and Attendance Using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and National Language Processing Technology”

2016 – PI: Carlton Moore, Medicine/General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
“Carolina Digital Health Research Initiative”

2016 – PI: John VaValle, Medicine/Cardiology, Co-PI: Cassandra Ramm, Medicine/Cardiology
“Empowering Primary Care Physicians to Use Hand-Held Ultrasonography to Screen for Aortic Valve Disease”

2016 – PI: Lisa Carey. Medicine/Oncology
“Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Recently Treated Breast Cancer Patients”

2015 – PI: Anil Gehi, Medicine/Cardiology
“Carolina Optimizing the Management of Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Atrial Fibrillation: A New Treatment Paradigm”

2013 – PI: Arlene Chung, Medicine/General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
“A Patient-Centered Hybrid Portal: Transforming the Medical Record into Meaningful Information for Patients”

2013 – PI: Stacey Sheridan, Medicine/General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
“Optimizing Coronoary Heart Disease (CHD) Prevention Using the Electronic Health Record”

Established by UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine, the Center for Health Innovation initiates, evaluates and supports the adoption of disruptive, patient-centered innovations in the delivery and financing of health care. The Center strives to provide rapid assessment, coordinated facilitation, program management, partnership development and funding for innovation. To learn more, visit at