MEDx, Department of Surgery Launch Training Program in Medical Device Innovation

David Ranney

A new educational program at Duke University co-founded by a surgical resident offers trainees a unique opportunity to learn about medical device innovation. With the launch of the InnovateMD program, Duke will now become one of a handful of universities to offer training in this field.

David Ranney, MD, General Surgery Research Fellow, and Ken Gall, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Pratt School of Engineering, co-founded InnovateMD in early 2016. The program enables residents and fellows in the School of Medicine to partner with students and faculty in the Pratt School of Engineering to develop novel technologies aimed at improving clinical care.

Dr. Ranney became interested in medical device innovation while pursuing a degree in chemical engineering and noticed that this type of collaborative opportunity for surgical and medical trainees was missing at Duke.

“There are a small number of fellowships out there for residents to essentially dedicate a year or two of their time to a program where they learn about medical device innovation,” says Dr. Ranney, Research Fellow in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and co-founder of InnovateMD.

“When I came to Duke, I realized that we didn’t have a program like that for residents even though we have all the ingredients right here. We can see the engineering school from across the street, but there were not a lot of conduits for collaboration available, particularly for residents who have both full-time clinical experience and sometimes dedicated academic time. I thought why not try and set something up here at Duke.”

Dr. Ranney initially approached Department of Surgery Chair Allan Kirk, MD, PhD, to discuss the creation of a program for residents. Dr. Kirk connected him with Dr. Gall who also serves as Associate Director of MEDx, a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the Pratt School of Engineering to promote healthcare innovation at Duke. Duke MEDx funded the pilot program earlier this year.

"InnovateMD is an exciting new program that provides residents the opportunity to be trained in engineering innovation in the field of medicine, and provides engineering students opportunity to work closely with doctors to solve real needs in medicine."

Ken Gall, PhD, medx associate director

InnovateMD brings together multidisciplinary teams of faculty and trainees to work on a medical device project. Teams may identify an unmet clinical need or select from a catalog of existing team or lab-based projects. Projects