Jocelyn Brown, 28--Product Manager of Medical Devices, 3rd Stone Design
Brown, previously a resident of Malawi, invented the Pumani bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) to be used by babies with respiratory distress syndrome. The device costs just 1/15th of the price of bCPAP machines in the United States, making it ideal for rural settings in developing countries. Pumani has CE Mark, ISO 13485 status, and is available for purchase.
The low-cost and easy-to-use device has tripled the survival rate of babies with respiratory distress syndrome, according to its description on 3rd Stone Design's website. Brown, a bioengineer and global health technologist, is product manager of medical devices at 3rd Stone Design.
What's next--in her own words: "The innovation I'm primarily focused on, the Pumani bCPAP device, has now received regulatory approval, and has been distributed to hospitals in over 20 countries worldwide, including 12 African countries. Our next steps are to continue to strengthen our relationships with local distributors who are geographically closer to customers and can provide ongoing technical support, as well as to spread the word of the Pumani bCPAP product and create a greater awareness of its commercial availability."
What are the biggest factors that helped you become a young innovator? "I have been fortunate to work with a diverse and passionate group of biomedical engineers, product developers, pediatricians, and nurses since I was an undergraduate student at Rice University. While I was able to work on a 'real-world' problem of lack of affordable infant respiratory support (which is an incredibly motivating problem to try to solve), the opportunity to learn from and work with these various experienced professionals from a young age has allowed me to contribute to the Pumani bCPAP's clinical and commercial success."
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? "I think the biggest challenge in working in a relatively new, undefined area of medical devices, such as global health technologies, is understanding how to design, manufacture, and distribute a medical product that is effective, safe, durable, and user-friendly, while still costing a fraction of other products on the market. The vast majority of medical products have been designed for use in well-resourced hospitals, but low-resourced hospitals have the greatest need for medical products. Trying to turn this medical device development process upside down can be quite challenging and undefined, but the benefits can be significant when you're able to provide hospitals with an effective medical device that they've previously been unable to afford."
|[Image courtesy of JOCELYN BROWN]|