Global Health Innovation Campus
From 1999 to 2005, Ross Mason served as a strategic adviser to the €500 million investment in Incubation Campus Wolfsburg (ICW) in Germany. The ICW project included a €280 million venture fund that invested in 341 early-stage companies in healthcare, information technology, mobility and entertainment and helped to reduce unemployment in Wolfsburg, Germany from 17.2 percent just 6.4 percent over a decade.
In 2004, Ross moved back to Georgia to attempt to replicate the healthcare piece of the ICW model in Georgia because he believed the state was uniquely positioned to be a national and international leader in health innovation. Ross wanted to combine the drive, innovation and entrepreneurship of Silicon Valley venture capital with the compassion, love and community he experienced in an African AIDS hospital to solve the greatest challenges in state, national and global health.
In 2009, HINRI and US Senator Johnny Isakson hosted an event with key Atlanta business, philanthropic, and medical research leaders to discuss making Georgia a leader in global health innovation by partnering with the military. Later in 2009, HINRI, Georgia Bio and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation hosted a meeting of over 40 entrepreneurs and academic leaders to discuss branding Atlanta as a leader in Global Health Innovation.
In 2011, HINRI hosted more than 600 attendees at its Annual Banquet featuring Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow and Navy SEAL Eric Greitens. Ross presented the concept to this large gathering of Georgia leaders.
In 2012, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation published “Health Care: A Road Map to Innovation”.
In 2014, Ross was approached by Roy Jones. We'll let him tell the story:
In December 2014, I reached out to Ross Mason and asked him to write a strategic plan for a Health Innovation Campus. At the time, I was working for Chick-fil-A, Inc. as the Director of the Cathy Family Office and reporting directly to Dan Cathy. Dan had recently hosted a meeting with Muhtar Kent, who was then serving as Chairman/CEO of Coca-Cola, and 15-20 of Atlanta’s other leading CEOs to discuss the critical need for Atlanta’s top businesses to focus on health innovation not only as individual companies but also collectively as a business community.
Several months later, Ross and I met with Dan in May 2015 to discuss the strategic plan that the HINRI team had prepared. We had a follow up meeting in September of that same year. Ross crafted a multi-faceted vision for Atlanta as a global leader in health innovation with a detailed strategic plan that identified key areas of competitive advantage in healthcare both within the Atlanta area and throughout the state. Honing his plan further, Ross expounded upon the myriad opportunities to partner with the CDC, the Gates Foundation, leading research universities (e.g. Stanford, Harvard/MIT, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, Oxford), international health policy makers/experts, venture capital firms, and high net worth family offices in order to make Atlanta the global leader in health innovation.
In 2020, Ross’ vision was realized as the Center for Global Health Innovation was founded and a health innovation district was announced in midtown Atlanta. HINRI’s visionary leadership in connecting key business with pivotal leaders in the political, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors was invaluable in helping our community realize the health innovation concept Dan and other leaders had envisioned all those years ago.
In 2019, HINRI partnered with the Georgia Global Health Alliance to make the dream a reality.
On Sunday February 23, 2020, this front-page article in the Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution made the first formal announcement of the project. (HINRI's chairman, Gen. Larry Ellis, serves on the Center for Global Health Innovation Board of Councilors.)
The Global Health Crisis Communication Center was launched in April, 2020.
The Creative Destruction Lab’s Recovery Stream was launched in Atlanta in May to identify solutions to accelerate the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. CDL is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies that brings together entrepreneurs, scientists, and investors from all over the world. CDL Atlanta, hosted by Georgia Tech, was the first CDL site outside of Canada, but has now been joined by sites in Paris and Oxford University.
The Global Health Innovation District campus was publicly announced in October, 2020. It will be located in the largest office building in the City of Atlanta, Tower Square, the former AT&T Building that sits on top of the North Avenue MARTA Station.