Martha Van Gelder is constantly looking at how the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center’s research, products and programs can help the local, national and global communities. As executive director for operations and commercialization at the center, it’s her mission to examine the cutting-edge research developed by the center’s experts to benefit others, while also helping the center become more financially sustainable.

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Martha Van Gelder joined the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center team as executive director for operations and commercialization.

Van Gelder joined the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center team in June to oversee the development and commercialization of the center’s products and services. To do so, she looks at products and programs, analyzing what makes them unique, what the market demand is and who potential partners might be.

“If you follow that formula and then understand the data and desired outcomes, it is much easier to speak to partners and have conversations about what their goals are and how a program or product would work in their distribution channels,” Van Gelder said.

Van Gelder is no stranger to examining data and outcomes to form business strategies. Her career has seen her working in business development throughout the world for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Sesame Workshop, Gaiam and L’Oréal. Most recently Van Gelder headed The University of Arizona’s center for consumer and retailing excellence, merging the expertise of industry and academia on big data and analytics, to inform the ways in which they are changing the consumer retail landscape.

Van Gelder sees a great deal of opportunity in the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, especially as wellness continues to become more influential in the lives of individuals around the globe. She believes that the research-based programs and products produced by the center can have a great impact in shaping the ways people achieve their personalized definition of wellness.

“The team here has observed for some time that our potential partners want offerings and solutions based on science,” she said. “The center’s mission is collaborative, and we can differentiate ourselves by being an incubation center for wellness insights and practices that welcomes scientists and health care providers to collaborate. The resulting innovation and programs are evidence-based—spot on for where the industry is going.”

The opportunity to be a part of the work done at the Anschutz and Wellness Center while drawing on previous experience in for- and non-profit organizations, as well as her undergraduate degree in biology, is an intriguing prospect for Van Gelder. In addition, she looks forward to impacting a center that continues to grow and define itself.

“We have some lofty goals, just like the campus does,” Van Gelder said. “We’re working with partners across campus and the globe to look at wellness in a different way to positively affect their everyday lifestyle. My hope is I can bring partnerships faster to the table and put the center on the map. It’s going to take a team of people.”

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