JeffSolves MedTech Inspires Next Generation of Innovators

Industrial design and medical students work together to develop healthcare solutions.
Photos of Conexo, Steam n’ Spin and Callicore
After seven months of work, transdisciplinary student teams pitched their concepts: (clockwise from top left) Steam n’ Spin, Callicore and Conexo.

Using imagination, resourcefulness and skills learned at Jefferson, three transdisciplinary student teams developed innovative solutions to healthcare problems during the annual JeffSolves MedTech program. Groups of industrial design and Sidney Kimmel Medical College students pitched their novel concepts—a car seat for children in hip spica casts; a system to prevent IV infections; and a breast pump sanitizer and dryer—as part of DesignPhiladelphia last month.

The steps leading to this point began earlier this year when students attended a “reverse pitch night.” Jefferson clinicians shared problems they encounter in their work, and students asked questions about their concerns. After attending this event, interested students chose an issue to design a solution for and submitted applications to join the JeffSolves program.

Lightbulb illustration
Members of Jefferson’s Health Design Lab, which runs JeffSolves along with partners from the industrial design program and Innovation Pillar, narrowed down the applications and formed three teams. The students spent seven months working together almost entirely virtually, conducting in-depth user research and problem identification to translate their insights into these marketable innovations.

From this significant effort, Callicore, Conexo and Steam n’ Spin were born and the students virtually pitched their final products at DesignPhiladelphia on Oct. 16. The Health Design Lab partnered with Bresslergroup, a Philadelphia-based design and engineering firm, to help accelerate and guide product development.

Dr. Bon Ku, the Marta and Robert Adelson Professor of Medicine and Design and director of the Health Design Lab, credits Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski’s passion for melding medicine and design to bring JeffSolves to life in 2016.

The idea started by foreseeing that the healthcare profession will inevitably evolve throughout the 21st century and the students of today must be prepared for future challenges, explains Dr. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

“How do we nurture that? One of the keys is creativity,” says Dr. Tykocinski, who applauded all the students for their hard work, especially during the pandemic.

This year, Jefferson Innovation Pillar leaders—including Dr. Rose Ritts, EVP and chief innovation officer, and Heather Rose, VP of licensing and startups—helped mentor the students in the innovation process and filed provisional patents for all three JeffSolves teams. Here’s a closer look at their concepts.

What: Callicore—a car seat for pediatric patients immobilized in hip spica casts, which children must be placed in following surgery for hip dysplasia or femur fractures

Who: Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Cole Miller, Galen Ogg, Jasmine Phun and Nash Vedanaparti; industrial design students Frank Porras and Isaac Savinese

What Their Mentor Says: Callicore is a family-friendly and highly functional product that serves a unique need. Children in hip spica casts can’t fit into—and, therefore, can’t be transported safely—in traditional car seats. Callicore’s unique pommel seat and flexible sizing features can accommodate nearly any hip cast configuration, allowing for easy loading and securing of children comfortably and safely.
Dr. Kristy Shine, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Director of the Jefferson Bioprinting Lab, and Director of Education/Biologics Research of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

What: Conexo—a guard system for the IV line

Who: Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Joey Leone, Anjali Patel and Heli Patel; industrial design students Gigi Geary, Lauren Huggler and Stephanie Szymanski

What Their Mentor Says: Conexo is the first and only product to provide barrier protection at the site of IV connections and, thereby, prevent bacteria from accessing a patient’s bloodstream. With its unique seamless design, Conexo has the potential to drastically reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections, lower costs and save lives.
Dr. J. Matthew Fields, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Research Director of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

What: Steam n’ Spin—an automated breast pump part steam sanitizer and dryer that’s designed for NICU-grade pathogen control and high-volume use

The Creators: Sidney Kimmel Medical College students Kathryn Sommer, Christina Stiebris and Kelley Yuan; and industrial design students Aaron Herl and Rachel Smith

What Their Mentor Says: Infection is one of the leading causes of infant mortality. Even though mothers and babies in the NICU use breast pumps every day for feeding, we lack a universal solution to disinfecting pumps between uses. Steam n’ Spin is a low-cost, easy-to-use device that will clean breast pumps in just a few minutes.
Dr. Morgan Hutchinson, Assistant Medical Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Director of Education of the Health Design Lab

The Pitch:

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Design and Style, Health