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Disrupt the Bay: A Conference to Disrupt the Status Quo in Healthcare

The second annual Disrupt the Bay healthcare, technology, and biotech conference is scheduled for August 6th. This year’s event will be a virtual due to COVID-19, but nothing like your average Zoom call. DTB is partnering with the Save the Kids Foundation and VSummits, a robust, digitally immersive event platform that allows for more of an in-person conference feel, complete with floors, tables displaying their swag, panel discussions and Q&As – all available on a person’s at-home digital dashboard.

Disrupt the Bay seeks to disrupt the status quo of the healthcare industry, which Stan Liberatore, founder of DTB, says is broken in the US. All of the conference’s proceeds will be donated to pediatric cancer research, an issue that hits close to home for his friend and DTB Board Advisor Kyle Matthews, whose son, Ezra, died of neuroblastoma. Last year, the conference raised over $20K for the cause. Liberatore says that pediatric cancer treatment takes too similar of an approach to adults and children, whose immune systems aren’t nearly as developed, meaning that many child cancer patients actually die from treatment rather than the cancer itself. Liberatore’s partner in creating the conference, Mike DeLucia, also lost his brother to cancer, so the issue hits close to home for many involved in hosting Disrupt the Bay. 

The conference has attracted reputable professionals from all across the healthcare industry, including John Nosta, who sits on the WHO’s board of experts. His address, entitled “Bringing Humanity to its Inflection Point” will focus on the biomedical industry and the philosophy that helped shape NOSTALAB, an “innovation think tank” whose digital health focus is perfectly positioned now that telehealth is in hyper drive due to the social distancing that the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated. Tampa General Hospital’s Executive Vice President and CIO Scott Arnold will deliver the keynote address.

This year’s event will focus more on mental health due to the uptick in suicide and depression rates, attributable to the stress and isolation caused by COVID-19. Michael Tomor, Executive Director at the Tampa Museum of Art will speak on the issue, in his “unorthodox” way, and discuss how art therapy can help people to manage their emotions during the pandemic. Johnny Crowder, CEO of CopeNotes, a mental health messaging service, is also confirmed to speak.

Disrupt the Bay seeks to reimagine healthcare and to develop synergy between tech startups, investors, hospital executives and providers. Though Disrupt the Bay’s cause is finding new treatment, and perhaps even a cure, for pediatric cancer, the conference itself is wide in scope. The panel discussion on “How COVID-19 is Disrupting Healthcare” will amplify voices from various healthcare providers to expose the current state of America’s healthcare system, and its ability to tackle a pandemic.

Stan Liberatore believes that the conference could not come at a more opportune time. Though life is slowly getting back to normal for much of the American population, the pandemic’s exposure of gaps in the healthcare industry will be long lasting. Bringing together the disruptors in the biomedical and biotechnology fields may foster the breakthrough that accelerates finding a vaccine for COVID-19 or a cure for childhood cancer.