Engineering World Health Arrives at UC Irvine

Newly founded organization looks to make impact in developing nations

Engineering World Health at UC Irvine (EWH), a new student organization on campus originating in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, hosted a welcome event that was sponsored by Associated Graduate Students (AGS), this spring to inform the campus community about its mission and projects.  The organization was established to help improve the quality of health care in vulnerable communities, like those in the developing world, by mobilizing the UC Irvine community.  

EWH strives to accomplish this goal with product development projects.  They face a unique challenge in developing innovative medical technologies with one caveat; the device has to cost a fraction of the cost of its “developed world” equivalent, but still function reliably.  

“We take sophisticated equipment found in U.S. hospitals and clinics and try to engineer low-cost solutions for them in almost a MacGyver type of way,” says Arlene Doria, vice president of external affairs and treasurer of EWH.

Current product development projects for EWH include an infant continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, an oxygen analyzer, an infant sleep apnea device, universal glucometer strips, and an incubator temperature control system.

“Our vision is that the welcome event will evolve into a competitive annual conference that invites all the UC Irvine community to come up with transformative health care solutions for resource poor settings,” said Doria.  “The underlying idea of making it competitive is, if you keep pushing the frontier of lower cost without sacrificing the quality of the medical technology, any successful product that is made for the developing world also has a good chance of being appropriate in the developed world.”

For more information about EWH, please visit http://www.clubs.uci.edu/ewh/.