GMI Student Perspectives | Erik Wu: New Year, New Me

Reflections from Global Medical Innovation MBE students.

Cardboard prototype

Every year I always struggle to come up with a new years resolution. In the past, it has always been some version of I want to eat better/work out more, but rather than being clearly defined, these tend to just serve as more of a guidelines and the direction I want to follow in the coming year. However as with most broad statements, inevitably life gets in the way and some of these nebulous goals get pushed to the wayside for more pressing matters. But when considering the pace of the program I am now in, all the things I want to get accomplished, and all the changes that have occurred since the last time I have posted on the GMI blog, this year I do have some clearer goals that I want to accomplish before I graduate in May, listed below:

My half year resolutions:

  1. Mass-producible templates for a lap trainer that can be assembled without tools
  2. Test ultrasound needle guide with surgical residents
  3. Present work at conferences and/or competitions

Now for all my loyal blog followers out there, you may be confused on these resolutions. What happened to the bowel retractor? What needle guide are you referring to? Why are you and Ellie writing about the same topics? You may be asking. Well with the new semester, teams were moved around in order to make sure teams were balanced due to different numbers of people. Long story short, Ellie and I are now on the same two teams for the coming semester, so for another opinion be sure to check hers out as well. But just to give a bit of an overview, I am now working on creating an ultrasound needle guide in order to achieve exact vascular access. I am still working on the low cost laparoscopic trainer though so there is still a little bit of continuity between this semester and last.

First focusing on the low cost laparoscopic trainer, we have decided to incorporate the advice of our stakeholders and create a device that has a dome shape and can be easily put together with minimal training upon arrival. In order to accomplish this and taking inspiration from the Nintendo Labo, we have decided to create these shapes from a cardboard template, thereby drastically lowering cost and simplifying assembly. Currently we are in the process of iterating on different connection mechanisms and designs, but we should have something resembling the final product in the near future. The second project focused on vascular access is much further ahead in development. There are still some issues that need to be worked out and iterations that need to be done before it is ready to be seriously scrutinized, but it is our belief that we will be able to get usable clinical feedback from attendings and residents at Baylor and TMC which will better inform our design in the coming month or two. As I get more acquainted with this project and what needs to be accomplished moving forward, I will be able to provide more interesting commentary and thoughts on the status. Finally I hope to be able to present our findings to reach a broader audience. Eddie and I will already be attending SAGES in Cleveland for the lap trainer, but we hope to present this project (and the needle guide) at other venues as well.

And with that, no blog post would be complete without a quick update on what the cohort has been up to in the past month. Yesterday we held a super bowl bowl party where I won eight dollars from Luc by betting on the Chiefs. Two days ago I also organized a dumpling making event where I “attempted” to teach people how to make dumplings. Finally, we also celebrated Lamiya’s birthday at a Dosa place! Although the program is now almost halfway over, I am glad to be a part of it, and excited for what is yet to come. If any potential applicants happen to be reading this post, this program is definitely worth applying to.

Happy belated new year!

Erik Wu, 2019-20 Cohort, MBE in Global Medical Innovation