It seems like a lifetime since my last blog post, and due in part to travel, project development, and still getting acquainted with Houston humidity, I would say so. I had originally planned classes around two days of the week, but somehow I spend 40 hours on campus per week working on projects or conducting meetings. In short…
“Plans never work, but planning always does.” – Eric Richardson
It has been hectic, but it’s been exciting! Working in a project-based Master’s program sheds some light into the professional world, where defining the scope of a need will affect the outcome of the project. It is never clearly defined in the beginning, but thorough investigation can certainly narrow it down. As I have mentioned before, I am working on two separate projects: an implementation project with bag valve masks (Truvent) and an innovation project with 911 activation services (ActivAtED). Despite being lengths apart along the project growth timeline, they both share one common similarity: validating the need.
On one end, Truvent has gone through extensive product development and even through a clinical trial, but our biggest challenge has been identifying our freedom to operate (FTO). Despite our novel concept, we utilize certain technologies that have been previously patented, which may restrict our ability to market our product. In that sense, we have gone back to the original need in order to identify what target market we can aim for as well as how we can address the need in an alternative manner. With some new ideas in the books, Karlee and I are excited to begin developing these ideas into reality this upcoming month.
On the other end, ActivAtED was originally scoped to activate proper basic life support (BLS) services for a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Though tough in its own regard, several companies and applications have taken stabs at improving this system, to no avail. Only recently did we have a chance to sit down one-on-one with a key opinion leader in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Michael Gonzalez, who outlined some of the key issues within the 911 response system, where we identified an issue greater than our original need. In other words, a solution to this bigger issue would not only address the problem brought to us, but to a variety of other problems within the current system. Constantly redefining the need has been crucial for the integrity of this project, and we believe that with this newfound understanding, our solution can make an even more realistic impact than we imagined.
In addition to our work at Rice, Karlee, Sanjana, and I traveled back to Costa Rica for a few days to help validate Sanjana’s implementation project: Milky Waves. With the two full days we had in Costa Rica, we interviewed several physicians and observed the neonatal department at Hospital Mexico to understand some of the greater needs in the NICU department. Milky Waves addresses a big problem surrounding breast milk – when put into bags, the fat separates from the milk and is not effectively delivered to the baby, prolonging the weight gain that is crucial for neonatal development. This project really tugs at the heart strings, and I am excited to help in any capacity to get this product out to Costa Rican hospitals to improve the delivery of breast milk fat to neonates.
But all work and no play makes Chandler a dull boy (right?). Despite our hectic lives, we still manage to find time to destress together. Whether it’s a light pickup game of basketball at the rec, or grilling by the pool of my apartment (which is when I got my first noise complaint, so definitely toning it down in the future), or grabbing dinner at Rice Village, it’s great to see everyone outside of a work environment. A previous GMI student stressed (no pun intended) the importance of taking personal time every week, and I see his point – all work won’t kill you, but personal health is always a priority also.
So, just like the ways of Costa Rica, Pura Vida mis amigos.