Student Leads Biomed Team to 1st Place
Stevens Institute of Technology fosters an entrepreneurial culture that encourages faculty and students to collaborate on innovative solutions to unmet needs through technology. First as an undergraduate, and now as a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering program, Rosemary Garofalo has experienced first-hand the challenges and thrills that occur where science meets the real world.
As part of a multi-disciplinary student and faculty collaboration, Rosemary contended with teams from the world's top engineering and science schools to take first prize at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Student Poster Competition. Rosemary presented the winning poster, "Digital Triage Assistant" on behalf of a team that included Cameron Abt, Peter Backeris, Malika Bhargava, Leticia Ennist, S. Raza Husain, Vaida Jakimaviciute, and Glenn Shevach. The diverse backgrounds of the student team members include Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The team's academic advisors were Dr. Vikki Hazelwood and Prof. Bruce McNair.
The Digital Triage Assistant (DTA) is a revolution in emergency room triage. Mobile devices measuring vital signs transmit data to a central unit, which makes decisions about which patients are in the most critical need. It combines OEM and proprietary parts that make it a unique yet cost-effective product with potential application in thousands of emergency rooms.
As the representative for the winning DTA Team, Rosemary Garofalo had five minutes to pitch her team's technology before a panel of judges that included industry representatives and past ISPE presidents. Her dynamic poster presentation won not only the highest scores, but also encouragement from judges and attendees to further develop DTA into a product for the market.
Rosemary and other students visited hospitals throughout New Jersey and New York to get an insider's perspective on the complexity of ER staff needs.
"The hands-on and multi-disciplinary experience gave us a great perspective on the realities of the medical device business and bringing a project to completion," Rosemary says. "At the competition, I was able to communicate with people from industry on a truly professional level. I believe this broad exposure has prepared us to be successful in our careers after graduation."
"Developing genuine innovations like the Digital Triage Assistant gives students first-hand knowledge of the biomedical device and pharmaceutical industries," says Dr. Hazelwood. Capitalizing on her extensive industry experience, Dr. Hazelwood stewards Biomedical Engineering students through powerful experiences beyond the classroom that equip them for life after college.
The DTA Team has won widespread recognition for their research efforts and entrepreneurial acumen. The team was a finalist in the 2010 CIMIT Prize for Primary Healthcare Competition, winning $10,000 to develop a business plan and compete for a grand prize. The team also won first place and $5000 at the Rochester Institute for Technology IEEE Student Design Contest '10.
Rosemary graduated from Stevens in 2010 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, and is currently working towards her Master's of Engineering at the university. She sees the value of her exposure to multi-disciplinary projects in the Stevens approach to BME. Working with students across the disciplines has given her the confidence to speak about various aspects of DTA and the communication skills necessary to collaborate between different perspective and academic areas. She anticipates this translating well into her professional skill set.
"I'm now very comfortable talking with people from industry, because I knew what it really takes to work together and achieve a final product," Rosemary says. "I also know how to communicate our concept to people in a variety of disciplines."