Manipal Academy of Higher Education hosts International Meeting of “Neodesign” from Stanford Un

Bangalore, March 19, 2018: Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) recently hosted the first international meeting of the Neodesign group from Stanford University School of Medicine, USA. The focus of this group is to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to innovate within the maternal and child health arena.

The meeting,which was envisioned by Dr. Anoop Rao, a Neonatologist at Stanford and arecipient of Dr. TMA Pai Informatics Chair Grant, showcased an array of expertswho have successfully demonstrated cross-disciplinary expertise. Apart fromManipal collaborators in Prof. Harishchandra Hebbar, School of InformationScience, MIT, Dr. Sanjay Pattanshetty, School of Public Health & Prof.Satish Shenoy, Director, Technical Research, MAHE, the event also sawparticipation from academicians in sub disciplines in medicine and engineering,entrepreneurs, NGOs & Government.

Whileaddressing the audience during the inaugural session, Prof. Vinod Bhutani,Neonatologist at Stanford stirred the audience to break the educationalbarriers and adapt the curriculum to make it more interdisciplinary.

Speaking onthe occasion, Dr. B. Rajashekar, Dean, School of Allied HealthSciences, MAHE said, “We are privileged to have had an opportunity tomeet with such industry stalwarts working on world class innovations andtechnology. This event has been of great value to all of us at MAHE to betterappreciate and address the barriers in providing healthcare solutions. Webelieve with such collaborations, there will be new doors opened to the developmentand application of new innovations in neonatal care and place Manipal as a hubfor inter disciplinary innovations.”  

The eventhad highly engaging panelists across various disciplines from surgeons togovernment officials from the Health sector. Prof. Leslie Lewis, Neonatologistat Kasturba Hospital, Manipal shared successful examples of theNeonatal ICU's external collaboration with XEROX to develop a non-contact vitalsign monitor using RGB cameras. He also outlined their quest to develop alow-cost oxygen blender and the specific engineering challenges encounteredduring this process.

Dr. KumaraSanjaya, a practicing surgeon and head of the Clinical Research Boardat Philips applauded the invaluable long-standing Manipal-Philipscollaboration. He highlighted the Philips-sponsored PhD work at Manipalculminating in the development of an integrated digital partograph formonitoring the progress of labour in pregnant women. He also discussed thedevelopment of a wearable respiration monitor developed for the African market.

Anotherpanelist, Nitin Sisodia, a former Stanford-India Biodesign fellow andFounder of Sohum, extolled on the alacrity with which School ofAllied Health Sciences, a unit of MAHE offered to collaborate on developing“Sohum”, a portable hearing screening device now catering to 26 million newbornand recognized among the most successful emerging startups in India. Dr. SumaNair, Head of Community Medicine at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal highlightedkey challenges faced in the areas of immunization tracking with migrantlabourer families & lauded the collaborative work that led to thedevelopment of a near-field communication (NFC) chip wearable device.

Dr. DarezAhamed, IAS, Mission Director, TN Rural Health mission sharedriveting statistics on neonatal mortality associated with home births &discussed a multitude of other challenges faced by the state health machinery.Dr. Sailakshmi, Pediatrician and Neonatologist described hercompelling journey and the tribulations that led her to establish “Ekam”,an organization that now provides skilled labour force such as trained nursesand social workers to the government-run healthcare system in Tamil Nadu whichhas helped achieve a significant decline in key mortality indicators in the state.

Dr.Tavpritesh Sethi, a Wellcome trust fellow and visiting faculty atStanford University motivated the young medical minds inthe audience to learn to write codes during his illuminating talk where hedemonstrated the use of machine learning and AI tools to address a variety ofproblems including prediction of sepsis and shock. Dr. Darshan Nayak,another doctor and former Stanford-India Biodesign fellow,currently a Consultant at McKinsey & Co stressed the role of formalizingthe educational framework to ingrain the design-thinking culture.

The deftpanel discussion during the event had panelists articulate the need tocapitalize on the existing ecosystem at Manipal and evolve it as a hub forhealth-tech innovation. The invited speakers in unison endorsed the abundanceof entrepreneurial spirit, technical talent and the rich clinical milieu inclose proximity at Manipal being unparalleled in the Indian context and servingas a fertile ground for cultivating and accelerating innovations.

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