Introduction to Engineering Innovation in Medicine is a required summer course for all incoming Engineering Medicine (EnMed) students. The course is designed to prepare the students to be successful in the program. It offers a survey of the unique program curriculum, networking opportunities through expert panel sessions and seminars with collaborative professionals located within the Texas Medical Center, and an immersive experience in medical technology development that will be expanded throughout their time at EnMed.
“The purpose of this class is to deeply introduce the students to the process of developing new technologies and effectively building teams to commercialize their technologies before they start their official medical school curriculum,” said Dr. Andrew Robbins, instructor of the summer course and director of admissions for EnMed. “During the course, our students learn topics such as design processes, identifying clinical needs, understanding regulatory paths to market, funding the development of new technologies, forming startup companies and more.”
This year, the course concluded with participation in the Innovation Think Tank Certification Program, developed and conducted by professor Sultan Haider, founder and head of Innovation Think Tank, a part of the Chief Technology Office of Siemens Healthineers. Through participation in the three-day program, students earned a credential as they competed in multi-disciplinary teams to design solutions to health care problems that they identified. All incoming EnMed students participated in the event and were joined virtually by other student participants from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Temple University and Baskent University in Turkey. The solutions proposed by the teams were then judged by industry professionals and EnMed faculty.
First-year students Elizabeth Bixler, Charles Foster, Paulamy Ganguly, Christine Lannon and Raghave Upadhyaya received first place during the Innovation Think Tank Certification Program for their proposals that addressed preventative and chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure.
“It was truly rewarding to be able to collaborate with peers from different universities and discuss some of the most prevalent problems in medicine,” Ganguly said. “The Innovation Think Tank was a brilliant opportunity to present on such a large and global platform and share our solutions to problems that we all personally cared about.”
In addition to Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank program, the pre-matriculation course also featured weekly seminars where local medical device experts and companies met with the students about their experiences developing innovative new technologies.
Overall, Robbins said that the ultimate goal of the class is for students to be able to speak the language of medical technology development by the time they finish the course.
“We have a very talented class — 15% of students already have advanced technical degrees, and this clearly shows in their ability to apply their technical knowledge to solving problems,” he said.
EnMed will host another design challenge event this fall in collaboration with Mentoring in Medicine (MIM). MIM was developed to improve participation of under-represented groups in medical professions through early outreach to primary and secondary school students. EnMed students will work in teams with undergraduate students and students from local middle schools and high schools.