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HEALTHCARE INNOVATION

Leading Change

Ascend is a medical technology realization lab that specializes in solving unmet healthcare needs

About

Ascend Innovations™ is a joint venture formed between Dayton Children’s Hospital, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health Partners through a one-of-a-kind partnership between the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) and Kaleidoscope, a product design firm.

Our services are vast but all share a common thread: they empower healthcare advancements that lead to better care and quality of life for patients. Our diverse team is made up of clinicians, engineers, designers, data scientists and business analysts that transform high-potential ideas into marketable products.

We also conduct product and clinical research, data analysis, and observational research that supports product development in healthcare.

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Our Story

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Partner Idea Submission

If you work for one of Ascend’s hospital partners and have an idea or problem that needs solved,
we’d love to hear more about it

Submit an Idea

Lift

Ascend’s process to develop the best products
LEARN

Learn about opportunities to improve healthcare practices and identify desirable solutions to the most pressing problems.

INVESTIGATE

Investigate the viability of selected concepts by diving deeper into the business opportunity

FORGE

Forge concepts into feasible products and solutions

TRANSITION

Transition the best concepts into sustainable ventures

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Ricky Peters

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Ricky applies his vast leadership experience to the management of Ascend Innovations. Ricky recently served as executive director of the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he was tasked with managing a multi-billion dollar program and roughly 6,000 people. He has held additional leadership positions, such as director of test and evaluation for the U.S. Air Force and deputy director of air, space and information operations at Air Force Materiel Command Headquarters at Wright Patterson AFB. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering from Wright State University and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton, as well as being chosen as a National Security Management Fellow at Syracuse University. In his personal time, Ricky enjoys water sports with his family, rehabbing homes, grilling and gardening.

Mike Clem

Senior Advisor

As Ascend Senior Advisor, Mike thrives at the juncture of medical technology and clinical understanding. From his training as a veterinary surgeon through more than 20 years with Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Ethicon and Cordis, he has developed innovative solutions to complex customer problems. His deep corporate and clinical experiences allow him to guide clients through medical device design, strategic planning, innovation processes, concept development and more. He is named an inventor on over 30 issued or pending U.S. patents and as the author or co-author on over 90 published papers, abstracts or book chapters. Away from work, he likes to spend time with family and play golf.

Matt Kornau

Partner

As Ascend Partner, Matt’s commitment to exceptional results for clients will provide a touchstone and strong foundation for the team. Matt will lend his expertise to Ascend while continuing in his role as CEO at Kaleidoscope, where he has motivated the team since 1995.

Bill Taylor

Partner

As President of Kaleidoscope and Ascend Partner, Bill brings his expertise in relationship and business building to the venture. His dedication to the client is core to who he is. His mantra, “make it work the way they want it,” epitomizes his approach to business. Bill’s tenure in client management is unparalleled, having run global sales teams for corporate America and dot coms. Bill’s positive, upbeat demeanor keeps Kaleidoscope focused on serving our clients.

Bryan Bucklew

Partner

Bryan brings with him to Ascend the executive experience he has gained as President & CEO of Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA), where he regularly works with the leadership of 28 area hospitals. He strives to keep Dayton at the forefront of healthcare innovation and research, health data analytics, disaster preparedness, and gauging regulatory impacts. Bryan continues in his leadership role at GDAHA and lends support to Ascend as a partner.

Kory Gunnerson

Engineering Director

Kory Gunnerson earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University and his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida. Kory applies his expertise in mechanism design, robotics and electro-mechanical systems to his dual roles for Ascend Innovations and Kaleidoscope. In his work as a design engineer and director, he has designed medical devices, consumer products, consumer appliances and military personal safety equipment.

Candace Dalmagne-Rouge

Business Director

Candace is a creative strategist who thrives on translating concepts into tangible, meaningful products and applications. She has a proven track record working for the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Brothers Institute and boutique consulting firms focused in defense, R&D, healthcare and manufacturing. Candace is driven to help clients solve complex challenges in strategic decision making, innovation and technology commercialization. Candace holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in International Business, both from the University of Dayton. In her personal time she enjoys traveling, painting, hiking and learning French.

Christian Phillips

Operations Manager

Originally from New Lebanon, Ohio, Christian’s experience with leadership and operations began during his time in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFROTC) at Ohio University. There he found a passion for building and organizing teams to accomplish missions. Christian graduated from Wright State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Outside of work he enjoys hunting, working out and spending time with his family and friends.

Maria Lupp

Design Engineer

Maria graduated from the University of Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She joins the team with previous medical device experience at both Ethicon Endo-Surgery and Midmark Corporation. Maria is driven by the ability to directly impact people’s lives by creating and innovating within a core team. She has also previously applied her engineering skills to developing a solar refrigeration system in India. In her free time, Maria enjoys playing tennis and traveling.

Stephanie Eichman

Design Engineer

Stephanie graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. She has worked in several research labs, as well as for Cook Research Incorporated as a co-op performing bench testing on many different kinds of medical devices. Stephanie is passionate about improving patients’ lives through innovation and the development of medical devices. She believes that keeping the patient’s needs central to the design is key to creating a successful solution. In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping and traveling.

Josh Gratsch

Data Science Director

Josh earned his master’s degree in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and his bachelor’s degree from Urbana University in Mathematics. He has a proven track record in data analytics working for multiple centers within the Air Force Materiel Command, applying analytic techniques to drive efficient acquisition and sustainment of aircraft. As a data scientist, Josh will leverage his expertise to identify and apply innovative analytic solutions to support Ascend’s initiatives.

Ryan Smith

Vice President of Research

Ryan joins the Ascend team with a history of success in the military, public, and entrepreneurial sectors. As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, his educational background includes being a distinguished graduate with honors in Physics, a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and a Master of Science in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee. In his free time Ryan enjoys flying his plane, being outdoors, and spending time with his family.

Our Team

Ricky Peters

Mike Clem

Matt Kornau

Bill Taylor

Bryan Bucklew

Kory Gunnerson

Candace Dalmagne-Rouge

Christian Phillips

Maria Lupp

Stephanie Eichman

Josh Gratsch

Ryan Smith

Services

Ascend Clinical Research


Ascend Clinical Research is a clinical research organization serving patients, healthcare providers, physicians, and business leaders in the Dayton area. We deliver agile, cost-efficient research and regulatory services that support the development of new medical devices. Ascend Clinical Research is a key player in the exciting joint-venture between GDAHA, Kaleidoscope, and Ascend Innovations. We bring transformative research capabilities that support the development, testing, and market release of breakthrough technologies in health and human performance.

Our Services

  • Data and Analytics
  • Business Development
  • Contracts & Budgets
  • Medical Device & Pharmaceutical Studies
  • Technical Review and Writing Assistance
  • Site Management
  • Regulatory Support

For more information contact

Mark Wysong, President

FAQ's

Question

How did Ascend come into existence?

Answer

The board of the GDAHA was interested in exploring innovation and collaborating with AFRL. This desire led to conversations with Kaleidoscope and it was determined a partnership could deliver tremendous value. Thus, Ascend was created.

Question

Who is Kaleidoscope?

Answer

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Kaleidoscope is an innovation and product design firm. By focusing on improving life for people, we create products and experiences that grow businesses from our expertise in consumer insights, technology and health and wellness.

Question

Can I submit an innovative idea to Ascend?

Answer

At this time Ascend is focused on ideas generated by our partner health systems. Our goal is to eventually accept ideas from the public.

Question

When will Ascend launch a product?

Answer

Ascend has established an innovation pipeline designed to rapidly produce human health innovation. Our first product is close to launch with a pipeline of new ideas behind it.

Question

Who is GDAHA?

Answer

The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) is a member service organization for 28 hospitals that have an $8.1 billion economic impact and directly employ 34,497 individuals in the Greater Dayton region.

Question

What is Ascend’s relationship with AFRL?

Answer

Ascend operates in close collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratories, to use military technology to help produce healthcare innovation.

Question

Why Dayton?

Answer

Dayton provides one of the most unique locations in the country, where strong healthcare, national defense, research and technology sectors come together. With Dayton’s rich history of innovation, it provides the prime location for Ascend to grow.

Question

What is the process that Ascend will follow to realize breakthroughs?

Answer

By identifying our health care partners’ challenges, Ascend designs and develops emerging technology and independent insights—producing commercially viable health innovations.

Question

Why focus on human health innovation?

Answer

Just as aviation’s pioneers transformed human life a century ago, breakthroughs in human health will change the world in this century. Ascend represents the next generation of global pioneers.

Contact Us

Interested in learning more? Send in your question and we will get back to you.