Wichita State student biomedical engineering team advances to InnovateHer semi-finals

Three Wichita State University biomedical engineering students will advance to the semi-final round of the national InnovateHer: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The WUman’s Group team of Nicole Zimmerman, Gina LeBar and Shauntel Pearson won the first round of the challenge last week for Illuminate, an application designed to assist women in the prevention of postpartum hemorrhaging by encouraging active management methods throughout the third stage of labor.

 According to the World Health Organization, excessive bleeding during labor, also known as known as postpartum hemorrhage or PPH, claims 100,000 lives yearly. The WUman team believes PPH can be prevented through organized record keeping and more efficient communication among health care providers.

 The Illuminate app can reduce documentation efforts and contains a first alert system to patients at risk for PPH. Using the application, nurses can track PPH risk factors; record voice notes for patient files; connect to mothers' medical records through their delivery bracelets; and receive lab results, alerts for high-risk patients and reminders to test patients' blood.

 In the semi-final round of the InnovateHer challenge, the WUman team’s proposal will be evaluated by a panel designated by the Small Business Administration. The panel will choose ten finalists from local competitions across the nation who will be invited to the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge to be held in mid-2017.  The finalists will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges and compete for the top three awards along with $70,000 in prizes.

 The InnovateHer challenge was launched in 2015 to drive attention and resources to innovative products and services that make women’s lives easier and longer. Through the competition, SBA is seeking to amplify products or services that fill a need in the marketplace and have the potential for commercialization, focusing on empowering more women in the investment and innovation space.

 Gary Brooking, WSU engineering educator and lecturer, serves as faculty mentor for the team. WSU Ventures sponsored the local competition, held Friday May 12. The judging panel included Wayne Bell, district director for the Wichita Office of the SBA and WSU staff Alan Badgley, associate director of the Kansas Small Business Development Center; Mark Torline, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and WSU Ventures; Gael Tisack, director of technology evaluation and industry engagement; Debbie Franklin, director of strategic university initiatives; Nancy Kersenbrock, assistant director of the Center for Entrepreneurship; and Becky Hundley, director of intellectual property and research compliance.

Contact: Sherry Gegen, WSU Ventures business and industry liaison, sherry.gegen@wichita.edu or 316-978-6359.