News From CHEST® Physician

Meet the FISH Bowl Finalists


CHEST 2019 marked the inaugural FISH Bowl competition for attendees. Inspired by Shark Tank, our kinder, gentler, yet still competitive and cutting-edge FISH Bowl (Furthering Innovation and Science for Health) featured CHEST members disrupting our beliefs about how clinical care and education are performed. As health-care providers, they presented innovative ideas pertaining to education and clinical disease for pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Six finalists were chosen from dozens of submissions, and three emerged winners. In this new Meet the FISH Bowl Finalists series, CHEST introduces you to many of them – including Clinical Disease Category Winner Dr. Gao.

Dr. Catherine Gao, Northwestern University, Chicago

Dr. Catherine Gao

Name: Catherine Gao, MD

Institutional Affiliation: Northwestern University

Position: Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellow

Title: Time to Vent: A Blended Learning Experience

Brief Summary: It is difficult for ventilated patients to communicate, and this is cited by patients as one of the most stressful parts of their ICU stays. Brain-computer interface technology allows for communication to happen directly from brain wave activity and represents a potential tool to fix this problem.

1. What inspired your innovation? Every clinician has had the frustrating experience of difficulty communicating with their ventilated patients, and it is even more challenging for patients and their families. I read about recent advances in communication methods from the neurology literature and thought about expanding this technology to the ICU.

2. What do you see as challenges to your innovation gaining widespread acceptance? How can they be overcome? This is still an early idea with technology still being developed – there have been investments by the military and large tech companies, as well as universities – it will take time for the technology to be ready for clinical use, and there will be troubleshooting needed as with all new technologies.

3. What impact has winning FISH Bowl 2019 had on your vision for the innovation? The judges gave great feedback and had wonderful suggestions and questions. This is just the beginning.

4. How do you think your success at FISH Bowl 2019 will continue to impact your career overall in the months and years to come? This was a great experience to talk about interesting ideas, and I had the opportunity to talk to many people with similar interests after the presentation. I thank CHEST for this amazing opportunity and look forward to the years to come!

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