I worked in Diagnostics and managed the Radiology Department at Children's Hospital in Mpls. and St. Paul. I have felt the frustration of working with pediatrics and knowing that the device we needed was out there but not developed for the pediatric patient, for adults only. Mr. Slaker had the vision to understand that through a non profit organization these devices/products could be created for children and it would be a win for the producer/manufacturer, but most importantly for our children, our future. He and his Board are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and their families!
DesignWise Medical came to the University where our students were able to work with Brad Slaker to design a vein transillumination device for the pediatric market. It was a fantastic project. The students gained experience working with a project that can make a difference in the world. Our students also gained experience working with a client. Its wonderful to see a company dedicated to the medical pediatric marketplace.
I have been directly involved in the management of research and product development in the biomedical engineering industry for more than 50 years and have had the opportunity to directly invent and patent several products as well. In recent years, the environment for innovation has been compromised. DesignWise provides an opportunity for significant improvement in the process of development of new products. For example: In the early years, entrepreneurs have had incentives to work in research and development in primary corporations such as Medtronic. The development of new products depend on their efforts and support. However, in recent years, these corporations have begun to outsource new product development to the acquisition of small startup companies who must find outside sources of funds and technical guidance. In the early years, medical engineering opportunities were sought after by innovative students because of the developing field and the creative possibilities. However, in recent years, engineering has become less attractive to American students and possibilities for making a difference are not apparent to candidates. Largely as a result of these factors, the success of innovative entrepreneurial ventures in biomedical engineering has become limited and a majority of such ventures do not succeed. DesignWise has answers to again generating the creativity and innovation to provide new biomedical products for underdeveloped markets such as pediatrics. The relevant features of this new program are: In the face of today's economy, the DesignWise strategy makes it possible to invest a very small amount of money in order to initiate a project. The direct involvement of biomedical engineering students in the design and testing has been generating a great deal of effort and creativity by students on the teams. The enthusiasm of University faculty has facilitated the opportunity to perform well supervised clinical studies at no charge to the DesignWise projects. This would otherwise typically be one of the most costly parts of the development project. The DesignWise projects are able to move to the point where a product prototype has been constructed and clinically tested at very little cost, leaving further investments for product development at a relatively low risk.
DesignWise Medical was founded on the sole guiding principle of addressing an unmet need: that need is designing and developing medical devices for the pediatric patient. The "for profit" medical device industry shies away from this segment of the patient population because 1) it is small and the ROI will not be realized and 2)it is risky. Brad Slaker has successfully built relationships with the medical professionals who treat these patients; medical device/legal/financial professionals who eagerly volunteer their time; and most importantly academia: both the professor/instructors/advisors as well as the students who make the devices a reality. The students are getting real-world medical device design experience that cannot be taught in the classroom. Brad has personally financed this nonprofit organization. DWM has now reached a critical juncture where additional funding is necessary or we will not be able to help these children. If we don't, who will?
I've been very impressed with the special focus Brad and his volunteer teams have ensuring parents have a critical role as adviser at every stage of development for medical device projects for children. DesignWise Medical is truly an organization that meets the 'customer' need with innovation AND fine-tuned attention on the needed solution.
In our world of Neonatology, there is a common saying of little people equals little funds. Brad and his team have seen beyond these limitations and have worked diligently to create opportunities to bring much needed technology to underfunded/underserved populations such as the babies I work with daily in the neonatal intensive care unit. His creative utilization of local universities not only gives back to the education of multiple students but also allows his projects to reach goals and results far beyond expected for his small budgets. He is a high achiever and creative thinker. His non-profit company gets my highest praise!
Brad Slaker, founder of Designwise Medical Incorporated, was my advisor for the capstone course in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He was always in close relation to the medical staff at the children's hospital and had a determination to make life better for the patients there. I was always impressed with his friendly demeanor and the passion for the work he was doing. He took our design group to visit the medical staff that we would be working with and the patients that we would be working for, and I cannot stress enough the importance of that appointment and the relationships Designwise Medial makes with its customers. I think every company should be run with the same ambitions and goals as Designwise Medical Incorporated.
I got to work with DesignWise Medical for my senior design project and I am so lucky I got to have that experience. DesignWise Medical works to create medical devices that are needed for the unmet pediatric market. The best part about doing my senior design project was that I not only got to experience how to design a medical device, but I got to meet with physicians, was taught how to focus on creating a product that was right for the customer, and learned so much about the entire path a medical device takes before it is marketed. And beyond guiding our design process, DesignWise Medical also provided mentorship to me and my group members. Anyone who has the opportunity to work with DesignWise Medical should take full advantage of it, as you will have the opportunity to truly affect some child's life.
I've worked with Brad and DesignWise for over a year. As a professional within pediatric healthcare, I know first-hand how medical device innovations, and the timely adaptation of those innovations, are critical to improving the health of the children and families we serve. DesignWise represents the collaborative, innovative approach that healthcare needs now and in the future. Brad Slaker is a capable, engaged leader who integrates well with clinicians, scholars, professionals and healthcare organizations to drive new concepts from inception through implementation. The DesignWise projects / involvement with Children's over the last year have been professional and effective.
Working in a pediatric diabetes clinic we often see children and families frustrated with the lack of pediatric specific devices to help their child. DesignWise understands this constant frustration and gap in management of diabetes. They have been able to come in, listen to our suggestions, and start development of potential useful child friendly diabetes devices. With little more than self-motivation and passion for what they do, DesignWise has proven a non-profit organization can succeed in developing complicated, much needed pediatric medical devices other companies have steered away from.