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MX magazine, the medical device industry, and especially the insulin pumping world, lost a trusted advisor and gifted contributor with the recent passing of Rhall E. Pope, PhD. A mentor to many device design teams, Pope moved from aerospace to medical when he joined Smiths Medical (St. Paul, MN) as vice president of research and development in 1998.
Pope enjoyed talking to customers and was truly interested in what they had to say. His attitude toward customers inspired the teams he led to build better products. He led the team that took Smiths into the new business area of insulin delivery technologies. Rather than making incremental improvements, he immersed his team in the issues faced by many people with diabetes, and led the company to create a 'smart pump' that represented a radical departure from previous products.
As Smiths grew by adding new businesses, so also did Pope's responsibilities. He continued to inspire the teams he led, encouraging a user-centric approach to product development in a variety of other areas. He had a keen interest in diabetes research and most recently served on the board of directors of the Minnesota chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Pope earned a BS from Duquesne University and an MS and PhD from Purdue University. He served on FDA's science review board and was a member of the University of Minnesota Biomedical Engineering Institute's industry advisory board.
Pope joined the MX editorial advisory board in 2006. In conjunction with this duty, he was also a member of the steering committee for the magazine's executive-level conference, BIOMEDevice Forum.
When he moved into the device industry, Pope told colleagues that he wanted to end his career helping people have better lives. People who worked with him observe that he accomplished this goal.