Intermountain Healthcare (Intermountain) has partnered with the BioManufacturing program of the Granite Technical Institute and the BioInnovations Gateway (BiG) to give high school students invaluable hands-on experience in designing and creating medical device prototypes.
A goal of the partnership is to provide Intermountain's physicians and nurses with an avenue to support the development of ideas that lead to improved patient care. The partnership provides other benefits, including:
- Students learn technical skills needed to develop a Food and Drug Administration-approved device.
- Students practice communication and teamwork skills needed to understand medical needs and execute on a project plan.
- Intermountain has the opportunity to support community education efforts.
The BiG program is open to students from six school districts in the Salt Lake City area. This new development program with Intermountain will tackle biomedical devices and biotechnology developments from the simple to the sophisticated, according to BiG executive director Suzanne Winters, Ph.D. The student teams will have access to shared wet and dry labs, CAD equipment, and a prototyping machine shop.
"These students will have hands-on experience in standard operating procedures, design controls, good manufacturing and lab practices, documentation and FDA requirements," said Winters. "Intermountain is demonstrating real leadership by helping to train the next generation of innovators."
Several projects are already underway and Winters anticipates that up to five will be initiated each school year. Three Granite Technical Institute faculty members and BiG's laboratory manager will supervise teams of two to six students.
"Workforce development is critical to the continued expansion of Utah's life science industry," Winters said. "You can study medical product development in class and read text books, but nothing prepares you to build a medical device as well as actually building a medical device."
According to Michael Mayer, Intermountain's director of Invention Management, the program should optimize valuable staff time. "Doctors and nurses are very creative problem solvers, but the demands of patient care can hamper them from engineering new solutions on their own. The BioInnovate program will help doctors and nurses develop their ideas by working with the students to create prototypes."
BioInnovations Gateway (BiG)
A non-profit based in Salt Lake City, Utah, BiG is an incubator for early-stage life science companies and an academic training ground for the next generation of life science professionals. It receives support from the Granite School District, Granite Technical Institute, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, and the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information, visit bioinnovationsgateway.org.
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Intermountain serves the healthcare needs of Utah and southeastern Idaho residents. Its mission is to provide clinically excellent medical care at affordable rates in a healing environment. For more information, visit intermountainhealthcare.org.
The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) is a long-term, state-funded investment to strengthen Utah's "knowledge economy" and generate high-paying jobs. Funded in March 2006 by the State Legislature, USTAR is based on three program areas. The first area involves funding for strategic investments at the University of Utah and Utah State University to recruit world-class researchers. The second area is to build state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facilities at these institutions for the innovation teams. The third program area involves teams that work with companies and entrepreneurs across the State to promote science, innovation, and commercialization activities. For more information, go to www.innovationutah.com or follow twitter.com/Innovationutah.