Dr. Marlene Seltzer is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Corewell
Health East (formerly Beaumont Hospital). Seltzer said the need for
such a device was identified when a patient was having difficulty
lifting her legs to push during delivery and the nurse was limited in
her ability to help because of an injury.
"I kept thinking about a way to make it easier for patients that
would not put the nurse at risk of injury," Seltzer said.
"Once home, I described the idea to my husband, who is also an
OB/GYN, who then drew the original picture on a napkin."
The labor assist device will empower mothers by making it easier for
them to lift and lower their legs during active labor. Farris said the
device will lower the risk for hospital staff or caregivers who
normally would have to manually assist with leg positioning.
The $280,000 MTRAC grant allows Farris and Seltzer to contract with
Tekna, a Kalamazoo product development company, to help develop the
next prototype. Next steps include product evaluation studies at
hospitals in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and metro Detroit.
Linda Chamberlain, director of GVSU Technology Commercialization
Office, said Corewell Health has partnered with Grand Valley on 10
other medical devices. Farris and his students have also developed
devices for Trinity Health and Sparrow Health.
"John has done a great job of seeking out opportunities for new
products that result in licenses," Chamberlain said. "His
focus on project-based learning for students is developing engineering
talent for the medical device industry. When these ideas are licensed
and commercialized, the work is ultimately creating jobs, which is key
to Michigan's medical device economy"
The MTRAC Life Sciences Innovation Hub aims to fund high-tech
projects addressing significant unmet needs in health care.