CTSI-supported project tackling pediatric dental anxiety featured in Star Tribune

Published by CTSI on April 1, 2019

A project that was initially funded through the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium’s Community Discovery Program for Child Health Innovation, which is managed by CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation, was featured in the Business section of the Sunday, March 31 Star Tribune.

Mimi the hippo in the Yonder app gives a guided tourThe Yonder app features Mimi the hippo giving a guided tour of the dentist's office where the child will receive dental care.

Through a call for public input around unmet pediatric medical needs by the PDIC in 2016, the PDIC received a submission from a parent describing the challenge of dental fear and anxiety in children. Through a collaboration with the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, University of Minnesota Alumni Innovation Fellows Adam Choe, MS, and Courtney Hill, MD were engaged by the PDIC to identify a possible solution to this challenge. They later obtained PDIC seed funding to create a prototype of a solution to ease kids’ dental fears.

“This is really a great example of a project that can start out as an unmet need, and then various groups at the University can collaborate to see it through all the way to an innovation and a startup company.” 

The team collaborated on an application and attracted further funding from various sources, which eventually led to the formation of a startup company, Yonder, through the University’s Technology Commercialization group in 2018.

Today, Yonder is launching its app to help children become comfortable with the dentist’s office and dental procedures before they even arrive onsite. Laganis Pediatric Dentistry in Maple Grove is Yonder’s first commercial client with a second client in the Twin Cities expected to provide the app to its patients soon.

CTSI’s Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni, senior program manager with ODAT, was quoted in the article:

“This is really a great example of a project that can start out as an unmet need, and then various groups at the University can collaborate to see it through all the way to an innovation and a startup company.”

Through funding and project support, CTSI’s ODAT helps advance promising ideas and discoveries along the translational path. Since 2011, eight ODAT-supported projects have been launched as University start-up companies.

The Star Tribune previously featured the PDIC in 2016.

Related content

Learn how ODAT-supported technology spun out to form Andarta Medical and CoreBiome.

About our blog

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute's blog features news, events, and opportunities, as well as stories about the researchers we support.

Contact CTSI's communications team to share your research-related news.

Find all CTSI blog posts