A Conversation with NEOvations Bench to Bedside President Phoebe Otchere

Phoebe Otchere, a second-year student in the College of Medicine, serves as the president of the NEOvations Bench to Bedside program now in its first year at NEOMED. What does that entail?

Otchere helps students from all areas of the University and beyond become involved in entrepreneurship through medical technology design – gaining hands-on, step-by-step experience in taking an idea from its beginnings in a research lab (at the table or “bench” where a scientist works) to a finished therapeutic or device at patient’s bedside. 

The Pulse spoke with Otchere about her experiences as president, as well as what’s in store for the program. 

Why did NEOMED launch the NEOvations program?

NEOvations is a unique opportunity for students to incorporate their own field of study to multidisciplinary teams and create an innovation that will help the medical ecosystem in the Northeast Ohio area. It is designed to create a more interconnected space for students, local entrepreneurs, and academics in medicine, engineering, business, and law.

How will student benefit from participating in this program?

Students can further explore and apply their interests in entrepreneurship and science to real problems faced in the medical community. They are part of a multidisciplinary group and are provided with knowledge from experts in many disciplines to help their project along. It also provides students with a unique networking opportunity to connect with fields outside of their current academic program.

How will the public benefit from this program?

The teams in the program are creating solutions to problems faced in the medical community. These problems are taken directly from practicing physicians in the Northeast Ohio region and students use their creativity to come up with an innovation that will help improve or solve the issues presented. 

What have you learned from your leadership role with the program thus far?

As president of NEOvations, it has been a learning curve building this program with multiple participating entities. Between hospitals, universities, and other participating organizations, it has been an amazing experience learning to collaborate with student, faculty, and key leaders in the Akron area and form new relationships and connections for the program. In addition, COVID has brought on its on challenges during this year, but we have done our best to make each session interesting and interactive as possible. 

In your opinion, what's the highlight of the NEOvations program from its first few months?

The highlight of the NEOvations program has been the Innovation Challenge. During this event, students were randomly split up into teams and given about 40 minutes to create a solution to their chosen clinical problem. It was very impressive to see students from different schools and fields of study work together to come up with a problem in a limited time. This showed us all (students, faculty and NEOvations team) that participants are capable are and we are all excited to see the end product at the competition later this year!

What are you most excited about NEOvations in 2021?

I am excited to see the different creations that each team comes up with at the competition in July. It will showcase the hard work and innovation each team has put into solving their clinical problem and improving the medical technology atmosphere.

How can students get involved with NEOvations?

If you are interested in NEOvations, check out our website

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