Gloria Gogola, M.D., is a pediatric hand surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Houston.
Q | What would you consider to be your most successful innovation?
A | If the measure of success is the ability to help patients, then several projects qualify. Examples are a wheelchair modification project, a robotic assistive arm, a game-based rehabilitation device for children with cerebral palsy and an instrumented dexterity test.
Q | What spurred this innovation?
A | The impetus for all of my projects is the same—the desire to provide better care for my young patients, either in their medical evaluation and treatment, or simply in their daily life.
Q | What are the unique benefits of your innovation that make it a valuable solution?
A | For the wheelchair project, it was the fact that the chair’s manual propulsion system was completely customized to the patient’s very specific—and very limited—range of motion.
Q | What resources were helpful to you when you were first starting out?
A | The outstanding engineering professors, students and staff at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University have always been integral to these projects.
Q | What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs or innovators?
A | I have two bits of advice: one is to never accept the status quo. Just because something is considered ‘good enough’ or ‘all there is’ doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. Second, a team with complementary skills can accomplish more than a single individual, so develop multidisciplinary collaborations.
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