What happens when an organization incorporates compassion throughout its policies, procedures, and culture? What is the impact on all stakeholders in an organization when human needs for care, consideration, and connection and are considered alongside business and impact outcomes? Research, and practice, show that the needs of people and the needs of organizations are not mutually […]
We have seen how COVID-19 has changed our health landscape and has highlighted the disparities in our health ecosystems. Our health systems, our economies, and our globe will be stronger if we use appropriate, human-centered design to scale technologies made to the unique needs of our economies in Africa, SE Asia, and other global economies outside of just the developed world. Both the non-profit model and the big medical device companies have failed to create a system that incentivizes creation of medical devices with and for emerging markets. 80% of all our medical devices are designed for just 10% of the world’s population. We are seeing the impact of a lack of appropriately designed medical devices play out during COVID-19. We have the opportunity to disrupt the global medical device industry with a new model that puts patients and clinicians in emerging economies at the center. Where you live should not determine if you live.
Carolyn (Forbes 30 under 30) founded Sisu Global in 2014 to do just that. They are not donating equipment doomed to lie in medical device graveyards because it lacks a supporting ecosystem. They are not taking US or European medical devices and selling dumbed down, feature-reduced, cheaper alternatives. Sisu Global is a a for-profit medical device company designing medical devices from the ground up, inspired by the innovation of clinicians in Ghana, Kenya, and our emerging economies around the globe. They’ve already had success with their flagship product that focuses on the global blood shortage. 100 million units of donor blood each year are missing, which means when a doctor reaches for a unit of blood it often isn’t there. Yet, for cases of internal bleeding, clinicians around the world are discarding the safe blood that pools internally that is available for re-transfusion. Hemafuse enables clinicians to salvage this blood, filter, and recycle it back to the same patient in the same surgery. Hemafuse has been used across Africa both in cases where there was no other blood available and as the preferred option over donor blood. It has received recognition from the First Lady of Kenya and features across top news outlets like Devex, CBS 60 Minutes, and Forbes.
Carolyn will give a presentation in the hopes to inspire each of you to rethink our biases and to rethink how we approach medical device design for emerging markets. She will challenge you think not in terms of how we can ‘save’ Africa or other emerging economies, but instead how can we create a robust commercial ecosystem that rewards each step of the value chain – from inventors to investors, and medical device companies to distributors. We can accomplish all this while ensuring affordable, high quality healthcare that is tailored to the needs of the populations it serves. Together, we can do good and do well.
Carolyn Yarina is a Forbes 30 under 30 for her work in changing the way medical devices are designed and commercialized for emerging markets through her role as CEO & Co-Founder of Sisu Global Health.
‘Sisu’ means persevering in the face of adversity in Finnish. Sisu Global designs and commercializes medical devices for those that persevere. Thier flagship product is Hemafuse: a handheld autotransfusion device that addresses the chronic global blood shortage. There is a global shortage of over a 100 million units of donor blood per year, which means when a doctor reaches for a unit of blood it often isn’t there. Yet, for cases of internal bleeding, clinicians around the world are discarding the safe blood that pools internally that is available for re-transfusion. Hemafuse enables clinicians to salvage this blood, filter, and recycle it back to the same patient in the same surgery.
In light of COVID-19, the timing of scaling this solution is particularly critical. With governments restricting gatherings of groups blood drives are being canceled, and the situation around blood access is set to become more dire. Sisu is scaling Hemafuse in Kenya and Ghana, and working to bring Hemafuse to the US.
COVID-19 has highlighted the disparities in our global health ecosystems and showcased the flaws of designing medical devices for the US & Europe for not the rest of the world. Sisu has a portfolio of devices and is building a pipeline to change the statistic that 80% of the world’s medical devices are designed for 10% of the world’s populations.
Carolyn is a two-time founder/CEO with a proven track record of execution. Carolyn has been featured in USA Today, Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, TEDxMidAtlantic, and has received awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 in Healthcare, Maryland’s Innovator of the Year, Baltimore Business Journal Tech 10, and Baltimore’s Top 10 BioHealth CEO.
Prior to Sisu, Carolyn founded a medical device non-profit working with rural mobile clinics in India. Her work was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Insider. While she was earning her Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Michigan, Carolyn was named Entrepreneur of the Year for her first company.
Carolyn got her start in entrepreneurship growing up on a sheep farm in rural Michigan. In addition to entrepreneurship, Carolyn has a background in chemical engineering, supply chain management, biomedical engineering research, microbiology research, and new product development for US and Indian companies. These broad variety of experiences included mouse embryonic stem cell research, completing new product design features from clinical trial to market pilot at a startup company in India, vendor management to ensure manufacturability, building best practices and training systems for procurement, and ISO audit preparations. Carolyn is the primary inventor of a modular centrifuge that operates with or without electricity. She speaks 3 languages, including proficient Turkish and basic Hindi.