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CHA Collaborates with MIT Media Lab to Address Global Health Issues
Posted Date: 5/28/2014

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) has teamed with the MIT Media Lab, a world-renowned research lab that focuses on design and technologies that address social causes, to help solve clinical problems across the world. Earlier this year, Ugwuji Maduekwe, MD, Jim Patalano, MD, and Ellen Weinberg, MD, from CHA’s Department of Surgery traveled to Mumbai, India, with engineers from the Media Lab to serve as physician-mentors for a group of the best and brightest engineering students from across India. The team helped create fully functional prototypes of novel and affordable medical diagnostic technologies to improve the lives of people in rural India.

The projects include the development of a portable, flexible, and affordable endoscope for viewing the nasal passages and sinuses (Dr. Weinberg advising), a device to record the character of tremors in patients with Parkinson’s disease (Dr. Patalano advising), and a smart bed that wirelessly communicates vital signs and monitors for risk for a fall by a patient (Dr. Maduekwe advising). In addition to working with the engineering students, our physicians visited local hospitals and satellite facilities throughout Mumbai and tested the devices.

The physicians, who are joined by doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in this collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, have been instrumental in helping to frame the group’s projects. CHA staff members, led by Chief of Surgery Steven Schwaitzberg, MD, meet regularly with the Media Lab as they work to develop more accessible medical technologies and bring their ideas to proof of concept.

CHA is very proud to be part of this initiative, which highlights the impact its staff’s innovative thinking can make on global health.

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.