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Development of a Surgical Lamp for Ethiopia by Undergraduate Innovators for Global Health

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Conference

Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference

Location

Virtual

Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36295

Download Count

50

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Paper Authors

biography

Kyle P Fuller Northeastern University

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Mr. Fuller earned a B.S. in Bioengineering from Northeastern University in December 2020, with a concentration in Biomedical Devices and a minor in Sustainable Energy Systems. He spent three years as a member of NU-IGH as part of the club’s design group. As Design Lead during the 2019-2020 school year, Mr. Fuller led the design, prototyping, and testing of the club’s surgical lamp project. His work at Northeastern and professionally involves the design of electromechanical systems with interests in environmental sustainability and accessible technology.

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Andrew J Lopreiato Northeastern University

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Mr. Lopreiato is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University expecting to earn a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2023, with minors in Sustainable Energy Systems and Economics. He joined Northeastern University Innovators for Global Health in 2019 to work on the club’s surgical lamp project, and he travelled with NU-IGH to Ethiopia in 2020. He became NU-IGH’s Design Lead in 2020.

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Raiden L Schodowski Northeastern Univeristy

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Mr. Schodowski is a B.S. Bioengineering student at Northeastern University with a concentration in Cell and Tissue engineering and minors in Global Health and Healthcare Systems Operations. He joined Northeastern University Innovators for Global Health in Fall 2019 to work on the surgical lamp project, aiding in the mechanical design process.

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Alec W Silverman Northeastern University

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Samantha L Bowman Northeastern University

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Ms. Bowman is a B.S. Bioengineering and B.S. Business student at Northeastern University with concentrations in Medical Devices and Entrepreneurship respectively. She joined Innovators for Global Health in the Fall of 2019 to work on the surgical lamp as part of the design team. She currently serves as the STEM Outreach Lead for the organization.

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Caitlynn E. Tov Northeastern University

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Ms. Tov is a B.S. Bioengineering student at Northeastern University with a concentration in Medical Devices and minor in Behavioral Neuroscience. She joined Northeastern University Innovators for Global Health in Fall 2018 and has served as Vice President and is currently External President. She coordinated and travelled to Ethiopia for NU-IGH’s second annual trip to implement the surgical lamp design and conduct the needs assessment.

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Joshua L. Hertz Northeastern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0650-5141

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Dr. Hertz earned a B.S. in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University in 1999 and then a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Following this, he worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. He joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware as an Assistant Professor in September 2008, leading a lab that researched the effects of composition and nanostructure on ionic conduction and surface exchange in ceramic materials. In 2014, he moved to Northeastern University to focus on teaching and developing curriculum in the First Year Engineering program.

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Abstract

For populations in low-resource countries, access to proper healthcare is often hindered due to lack of functional medical equipment. In these settings, realistic equity requires adjustment of traditional engineering design priorities to maximize usability and benefit to the healthcare facility. Minimalism, efficiency, and on-the-ground practical value must be prioritized over the urge to design flashy, complicated, or state-of-the-art equipment. Northeastern University Innovators for Global Health (NU-IGH) is a student organization located in Boston, MA focused on improving global access to medical technology. Students in NU-IGH recently began a partnership with St. Paul’s Hospital Millenium Medical College (SPHMMC), a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Four undergraduate students and a faculty mentor traveled to the hospital in 2019 to make a preliminary assessment of engineering needs, interviewing hospital employees across multiple departments and levels of administrative hierarchy. The group identified a critical need for a surgical lamp optimized for the demands of SPHMMC. Design constraints would include low-cost and accessible parts, ease of use and repair, and ability to operate continuously despite frequent, short-term electrical power outages. The students spent one and a half semesters designing and building just such a surgical lamp. They researched both traditional surgical lamp standards and the particular needs of low-resource hospitals in Addis Ababa, crafting a design to ensure both safety and practicality. The project resulted in a functional surgical lamp that is approved for use at SPHMMC and which can be produced for a fraction of the typical price of surgical lamps in the United States. The final prototype uses LED bulbs, which are cheaper, longer-lasting, and easier to procure than standard halogen bulbs, and is interchangeably powered by a wall outlet or a standard, 12V car battery. The surgical lamp’s ease of assembly allows for production with simple tools and parts that are accessible in Addis Ababa, which is vital for any medical equipment made for use in low-resource settings. This lamp enables hospital staff to perform life-saving surgeries. Students traveled again to Addis Ababa in 2020 to assemble the prototype alongside SPHMMC’s biomedical students, to present a report on the lamp so that additional copies can be made by hospital staff, and to participate in knowledge exchange and needs assessment for future NU-IGH projects. This paper will present this project’s conception and results in the context of the lessons learned by the students that are of use to students and faculty at other schools who might seek to undertake similar projects.

Fuller, K. P., & Lopreiato, A. J., & Schodowski, R. L., & Silverman, A. W., & Bowman, S. L., & Tov, C. E., & Hertz, J. L. (2021, April), Development of a Surgical Lamp for Ethiopia by Undergraduate Innovators for Global Health Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/36295

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