Pediatric Health Care & Device Innovation Day and Seed Grant Opportunity Foster Better Care for the Youngest Patients

Innovations and new medical devices for the care of pediatric patients, who range in age from birth to 21 years, continue to lag behind health care developments for adults. This is due to the complexity of the pediatric population; newborns are different from toddlers, and young children are different from teenagers. As a result, the costs related to the development of devices focused on one or more of these sectors can be prohibitive for industry.  A recent conference — and an upcoming seed grant opportunity — are helping to address this disparity. 

The VCU Institute for Engineering and Medicine, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the Atlantic Pediatric Device Consortium (APDC) hosted a Regional Pediatric Health Care Day in the new Children’s Hospital Pavilion in Richmond on April 29. The event promoted collaboration among clinicians, engineers, nurses and other health care professionals from the mid-Atlantic region for development of devices that address unmet needs for pediatric patients. Predicated on the idea that “kids are not just small adults,” the Regional Health Care Day focused on pediatric patients’ unique requirements, which include care, device sizes, technology and performance constraints that evolve as patients grow.   

Sessions included

  • The multifaceted process of unmet clinical need identification, process for developing and evaluating medical products, regulatory requirements and funding commercialization of new products.

  • Current initiatives, ideas, thoughts and interests in developing new devices to address needs in pediatric health care.

  • APDC’s 2017 seed grant competition with awards of $5,000 to $50,000 to support development of devices for pediatric health care.

  • Examples of device development programs previously funded by APDC.

  • Upcoming HealthHacks ‘17 at VCU, a 24-hour design competition focusing on new products for pediatric care.

  • Congressional support for funding FDA’s multi-institutional consortium program, which focuses on device innovations for improving care of pediatric patients.

  • Methods for discussing key health care topics with your congressional members.

  • Opportunities for internal and multi-institutional collaborations on initiatives for pediatric healthcare.

VCU Medical Center faculty, medical students, VCU Engineering faculty, clinical faculty from the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Emory University Medical Center, private practitioners and representatives from a product development consultancy attended the program.

Opportunities for pediatric health care innovators continue this summer with the APDC’s seventh annual 2017 device development seed grant competition. Teams are invited to apply for one-year grants, generally in the amount of $5,000 - $50,000, for projects to develop and commercialize a pediatric medical device. The application process is open through July 31; proposals selected for participation in the next round of the competition will be notified by August 28. Final presentations for seed funding will be held September 25 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.