GMI Student Perspectives | Matthew De Venecia: Every Month We’re Shuffling

Reflections from Global Medical Innovation MBE students.

De Venecia reuniting with a friend at the SWE conference

If you’ve been tracking with my previous blogs, thanks for keeping up! If you remember from last time, I was working on a project in the nuclear medicine department with Aedan and Hannah in addition to a second project with Luc from the Texas Medical Center. There was a lot of great information in my previous blogs, so if this is your first time reading, take some time to go back and check out the others. Go ahead and do that now, I’ll wait.

Are you caught up now? Awesome! It doesn’t really matter though because almost everything’s changed…..… :D

During our investigation of the nuclear medicine project with Hospital de Amor, my team and I found that the problem we identified didn’t have concrete evidence of affecting clinical outcomes. After pouring through papers and interviewing possible stakeholders, we decided that it would be best to pursue a different project with our time in GMI. This was a fairly difficult decision to make. I enjoyed working with Hospital de Amor and the nuclear medicine staff there, so lots of worrying thoughts ran through my mind. How were we going to tell these kind people that we won’t be working with them this year? What are they going to think of us? Will this affect future cohorts in the GMI program? I was rather worried about the entire situation, but I’m extremely grateful that our stakeholders were understanding, saying that they appreciated our work regardless of the project status. We’re still on good terms with the nuclear medicine department at Hospital de Amor, and we’re hoping that they’ll continue to desire to innovate in their field.

Something else that changed was the fact that Luc and I are no longer on the same local project. After making observations and identifying needs, we found that multiple teams in GMI identified very similar needs. After deliberating about how to proceed, we decided to reshuffle the teams so that everybody is on a project that resonates with their skillsets and interests. I’m currently on a team with Genevieve (another GMI student) and four other people to address the need of stopping hemorrhages during minimally invasive surgeries.

All the changes that occurred this past month were drastic and took some time to adapt to. However, I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride and starting to see a path on how to proceed from here on out. Moving away from the nuclear medicine project was disappointing on one hand, but we were actually able to close out a project because of it! Accepting the fact that this is a normal part of the vetting process for a medical device concept was something valuable to learn during my time here. Hannah, Aedan, and I will now be shifting our attention to a new idea focused on implementing microneedle vaccine patches in collaboration with Dr. Kevin McHugh at Rice University. On the local side, my team and I are pushing towards a software based solution for our hemorrhaging need. While I’ve missed the members from my previous team, the new members I’ve gained are just as great!

Now, it’s Thanksgiving/ Christmas time, so in the spirit of the season, I’ve been reflecting on the many things that I’m grateful for. During this semester, I signed up for coaching from the Doerr Institute for New Leaders and had some amazing conversations with my coach, Eddie Turner. I got to experience my first time at a renaissance fair, attending the SWE conference (of which I’m an ally), and even driving a mustang convertible in California (crazy right?!). I get to work with some amazing classmates, and be mentored by fantastic teachers. I thank God that I was able to find and join a Christian group to keep me grounded throughout all the busyness of life. Lastly, I’m grateful that I’m at Rice University, pursuing my dreams of creating medical devices thanks to the help and support of the people that care for me (shout out to my mom and dad, you’re the best). That’s all I have for now. As always, thanks for reading! Tchau!

Matthew De Venecia, 2019-20 Cohort, MBE in Global Medical Innovation