ChristianaCare resident Jonathan Li, M.D., won the first Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) “Shark Tank” competition. DHSA solicited proposals from the scientific community for innovations designed to improve the health of Delawareans and modeled the competition on the popular ideas-driven TV show.

With collaborator Russell Zerbo from the Clean Air Council, Dr. Li posed the questions: “In lower income communities, is there a difference in air quality?  How can we measure this and improve care for children with asthma?”

The Li-Zerbo team surpassed five other contestants to win a $50,000 grant to install air quality monitors in strategic locations in Wilmington. These monitors, approximately 50 in all, will identify the quality of air down to the specific neighborhood block, so that evidence-based programs can be developed to improve Delawareans’ Health.

“I am totally humbled to win this award,” Dr. Li said. “Everyone deserves to breathe clean air. This is one small step of many toward protecting our environment and the people in our communities.”

The competition demonstrated “how engaged our community is with science,” said Omar Khan, M.D., MHS, president and CEO of the DHSA and physician leader of Research Administration and Scientific Affairs for Christiana Care. “As we work toward a healthier Delaware, I cannot imagine a better way to engage with and meet the needs of our community than through this open exchange.”