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Stacy W. Kish

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Phone: 801-587-2596

Mar 27, 2018 10:15 AM

Credit: Temel Yasar

The University of Utah Health will host the 8th annual Bench to Bedside competition on April 9, 6:00 pm at the Utah State Capitol.

Bench to Bedside is a program that introduces students to the world of medical and global health innovation through an incentive-based team competition. The program culminates in the final competition where multi-disciplinary teams, consisting of students with expertise in medicine, engineering, informatics, business, law, film and media arts, architecture, mathematics, biology, chemistry and computer science, present their novel medical innovations.

A promotional video for the event can be viewed here.

With only six months and $500, each group develops a device to address an unmet clinical need with the aim of bringing the new technology to market. During this time, the teams can consult with University of Utah Health physicians from a broad area of specialties, as well as, key opinion leaders and stakeholders.

Projects this year tackle real-world needs, such as helping pediatric diabetes patients manage their illness using new gaming apps, diagnosing anemia more efficiently, and assisting burn patients in developing countries.

“This program taps into our amazing pool of students as well as our seamless collaborative partnerships with the Health Sciences Center, School of Business, Colleges of Engineering and Law, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, and industry partners to produce incredible results," said John Langell, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, executive director for the Center for Medical Innovation at U of U Health. “Previous teams have already improved healthcare delivery through technology commercialization. I am especially excited for this year’s event and expect to see incredible technologies unveiled during the competition.”

This year, the Bench to Bedside teams will compete for more than $130,000 in prize money with the grand prize of $50,000 awarded to the first-place team.

Bench to Bedside Awards

  • Runner Up Prize: $10,000
  • Legacy Grand Prize: $20,000
  • Best in Medicine: $5,000
  • Best in Business: $5,000
  • Best in Engineering: $5,000
  • Healthcare IT: $5,000
  • Young Entrepreneur’s Award (high school teams only): $1,000

Secondary Awards

  • John Norda Consumers Choice Award: $10,000
  • Ensign College of Public Health Global Health Award: $10,000
  • Global Health: $5,000
  • Ted Stanley Innovation Award by the Department of Anesthesia: $5,000
  • Ophthalmologic Global Health by the Department of Ophthalmology: $5,000
  • Eccles and Marriot Library Award: $2,000

Since its inception, the Bench to Bedside competition has grown from 14 teams in in 2010 to more than 60 teams this year.  Of which, 11 are legacy teams, returning to the competition with improved devices. This year, Bench to Bedside welcomes teams from neighboring universities, including Southern Utah State, Brigham Young University, Weber State University, and Utah State University, to compete along teams from U of U Health. Three local high school teams will also compete.

“The teams have worked exceptionally hard on their projects in the hopes their innovation will someday make a real difference in patients’ lives,” said Ali Eisenbeiss, a University of Utah graduate student in Bioengineering and president of Bench to Bedside organization. “We believe by including teams from other universities throughout Utah will increase the level of competition and ultimately bring about superior healthcare innovations out of Bench to Bedside.”

Each team will present their device to an expert panel of judges who will evaluate and score their work based on the team’s business strategy, design quality, and healthcare impact.

The Bench to Bedside competition began as a beta-test for the BioInnovate program but has quickly become one of the most popular student program at U of U Health. Since 2010, Bench to Bedside has mentored 918 participants on 210 teams that have invented 214 medical devices, filed 139 patents, and launched 55 companies. This creative approach has resulted in unique design concepts, several of which are currently heading toward commercialization. 

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