The meeting, which was envisioned by Dr. Anoop Rao, a Neonatologist at Stanford and a recipient of Dr. TMA Pai Informatics Chair Grant, showcased an array of experts who have successfully demonstrated cross-disciplinary expertise. Apart from Manipal collaborators in Prof. Harishchandra Hebbar, School of Information Science, MIT, Dr. Sanjay Pattanshetty, School of Public Health & Prof. Satish Shenoy, Director, Technical Research, MAHE, the event also saw participation from academicians in sub disciplines in medicine and engineering, entrepreneurs, NGOs & Government.
While addressing the audience during the inaugural session, Prof. Vinod Bhutani, Neonatologist at Stanford stirred the audience to break the educational barriers and adapt the curriculum to make it more interdisciplinary.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. B. Rajashekar, Dean, School of Allied Health Sciences, MAHE said, “We are privileged to have had an opportunity to meet with such industry stalwarts working on world class innovations and technology. This event has been of great value to all of us at MAHE to better appreciate and address the barriers in providing healthcare solutions. We believe with such collaborations, there will be new doors opened to the development and application of new innovations in neonatal care and place Manipal as a hub for inter disciplinary innovations.”
The event had highly engaging panelists across various disciplines from surgeons to government officials from the Health sector. Prof. Leslie Lewis, Neonatologist at Kasturba Hospital, Manipal shared successful examples of the Neonatal ICU's external collaboration with XEROX to develop a non-contact vital sign monitor using RGB cameras. He also outlined their quest to develop a low-cost oxygen blender and the specific engineering challenges encountered during this process.
Dr. Kumara Sanjaya, a practicing surgeon and head of the Clinical Research Board at Philips applauded the invaluable long-standing Manipal-Philips collaboration. He highlighted the Philips-sponsored PhD work at Manipal culminating in the development of an integrated digital partograph for monitoring the progress of labour in pregnant women. He also discussed the development of a wearable respiration monitor developed for the African market.
Another panelist, Nitin Sisodia, a former Stanford-India Biodesign fellow and Founder of Sohum, extolled on the alacrity with which School of Allied Health Sciences, a unit of MAHE offered to collaborate on developing “Sohum”, a portable hearing screening device now catering to 26 million newborn and recognized among the most successful emerging startups in India. Dr. Suma Nair, Head of Community Medicine at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal highlighted key challenges faced in the areas of immunization tracking with migrant labourer families & lauded the collaborative work that led to the development of a near-field communication (NFC) chip wearable device.
Dr. Darez Ahamed, IAS, Mission Director, TN Rural Health mission shared riveting statistics on neonatal mortality associated with home births & discussed a multitude of other challenges faced by the state health machinery. Dr. Sailakshmi, Pediatrician and Neonatologist described her compelling journey and the tribulations that led her to establish “Ekam”, an organization that now provides skilled labour force such as trained nurses and social workers to the government-run healthcare system in Tamil Nadu which has helped achieve a significant decline in key mortality indicators in the state.
Dr. Tavpritesh Sethi, a Wellcome trust fellow and visiting faculty at Stanford University motivated the young medical minds in the audience to learn to write codes during his illuminating talk where he demonstrated the use of machine learning and AI tools to address a variety of problems including prediction of sepsis and shock. Dr. Darshan Nayak, another doctor and former Stanford-India Biodesign fellow, currently a Consultant at McKinsey & Co stressed the role of formalizing the educational framework to ingrain the design-thinking culture.