Here is some really good news for a change: Inventor, investor, and entrepreneur Ron Gutman, fresh out of doing more than his part to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and help the Ukrainian people after they were attacked, plans to set his steely focus to even more good works.
“As the pandemic is winding down, I’m getting increasingly more involved in philanthropy. And I am excited to get even more involved. I do believe that great businesses can solve meaningful social challenges, but not everything can or should be handled by businesses. I believe that there are multiple social challenges that cannot be solved with business means, and this is why philanthropy is so important in complementing business efforts. I also believe that some things cannot be handled by philanthropy, and this is where government comes to play. The good news is that there’s a role for all players in significantly improving human welfare.”
Gutman, the co-CEO of Intrivo Diagnostics, a MedTech company that developed and launched one of the leading and most popular rapid COVID-19 tests, is now also a player in the charitable arena. Gutman is an inventor and builder of mission-driven companies, and the pandemic has prompted him to take a leading role in philanthropic work that complements the work of business and government.
Supporting Ukraine with Technology and Tests
Ron Gutman’s notable recent initiative was leading Intrivo in the donation of hardware, software, and $1 million in COVID-19 tests to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in war-torn Ukraine.
Gutman intuitively knew that masses of refugees exponentially increased the possibility of viruses spreading among displaced families and individuals. While brainstorming with friends about the war in Ukraine and its implications, he suggested that they do something to help the Ukrainian people and their struggling hospitals. Ron was convinced that his team and him and any individual who really cares has ways to help. “Why don’t we just roll up our sleeves and try to send them some aid, see what they need, and help as much as we can?” said Gutman to friends and colleagues. Gutman realized that supply chain issues and regulatory constraints have made the worldwide distribution of COVID-19 tests a complex mission. Adding to the uncertainties, safety issues, and complexities of the Ukrainian war zone made the initiative Ron and his team contemplated embarking on even more challenging. Gutman was up for the challenge and excited about helping millions in a way that he had not done before.
“We decided to ship more than a million dollars worth of On/Go COVID-19 tests into war-ridden Ukraine, and this large number of tests had to first go into Poland and then into Ukraine,” Gutman told us. “I also made the decision to personally travel with the tests myself and physically meet the hospital executives, meet their fabulous staff, and see their highly dedicated doctors in person.”
Gutman wanted to make sure that they were all instructed and trained well to be able to store and distribute the tests. He also provided them with computers and software to manage the health of their populations. “The idea was to provide these population health managers not just tests, but also a way to monitor outbreaks when they just start and the trajectory of the outbreak, so they can act very quickly to make sure that the pandemic doesn’t spread throughout hospitals.”
The visit had a powerful impact on Gutman himself, who came back with an extensive wish list of medical needs that went well beyond COVID-19. He’s now working with partners to fulfill those requests and deliver much-needed support to the health practitioners he met in Ukraine.
Ron Gutman’s Altruistic Initiatives
Ron Gutman’s benevolent reach covers far more than just Ukraine. He was the inventor and driving force behind HealthTap for Good, which offered free telehealth doctor consultations to disadvantaged people in need everywhere.
During the pandemic, in addition to developing much-needed rapid COVID-19 tests, Gutman created FestiHealth, a first-of-its-kind interactive virtual platform presenting live health and wellness activities, compelling speakers, and a virtual space for novel health tech solutions. Gutman has always believed in the power of convening smart and compassionate people to help solve big problems. FestiHealth brought together innovators, academics, industry leaders, investors, educators, entrepreneurs, and more to help brainstorm how to solve the evolving pandemic and collaborate to make the ideas a reality.
What’s Next for Ron Gutman?
When I asked Ron Gutman about his next philanthropic endeavors, he told me he’s been pondering a great deal about the next generation.
“I’m going to dedicate a lot of my philanthropy to children and children’s health,” he says. “I think that many of the health issues that we’re seeing right now are due to how we were brought up to be who we are today. There are quite a few things that can be fixed that likely our generation isn’t going to benefit from, but the next generation will rip the fruits of our current investment in children’s health and well-being.
“Going forward into an even brighter future, I’m committed to focusing my philanthropic endeavors on particularly children and children’s happiness and health. I strongly believe that there’s a lot we can do both on the mental health front as well as the physical health side of the equation.”
For Ron Gutman, the intersection of technology, health, and human service is deeply ingrained in and a large part of his work. As he continues to innovate, the world and its people will likely continue to benefit from solutions that help millions live happier, healthier lives.
“At the end of the day, one of the most powerful and durable things we all have is our spirit,” Gutman says, “and to cultivate it, what people need more than anything else, I believe, is real hope.