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UD spinout SimUCare gets ‘university startup of the year’ honor at US Capitol

SimUCare is a tech transfer success story. The company's devices are a lot more sophisticated than your average mannequin.

SimUCare at the U.S. Capitol. (Courtesy photo)

Technical.ly's Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The September 2016 topic is tech transfer. See tech transfer coverage from all five of our East Coast markets here.

Last week, a University of Delaware spinout company was honored along with 38 others as a “university startup of the year” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
SimUCare was also a finalist in the Horn Program’s Hen Hatch contest last year.
The company aims to provide low-cost healthcare simulation products. Really, it’s out to build a better teaching mannequin.
The team is composed of nursing faculty members Amy Cowperthwait and Heiddy DiGregorio joined by alumni Amy Bucha and Robert Tilly.
“I’m really pleased the U.S. Congress is recognizing the benefit of having universities support the infrastructure or beginning phases of startup companies,” said Cowperthwait, referring to the process of technology transfer that more and more universities are embracing nationwide. “This first competition they had is a great example of ways government is seeking to improve the success of startup companies.”
Cowperthwait recalled her days in nursing school and how simulation education had evolved but still didn’t provide enough feedback because, well, the mannequins are plastic. So she used her past experience as an emergency room nurse to point out common patient care pain-points, and worked with her team to make learning more sophisticated and responsive. This device tells you what you’re doing wrong, on the spot.
The company creates a la carte devices, as opposed to using mannequins that have all the bells and whistles. The SimUCare product line retails between $7,000 and $10,000 while a regular mannequin would cost between $100,000 and $150,000.
As a customer of her own product, government support of her project made a huge difference.
“End users can’t always get what they want with the resources they have,” said Cowperthwait. “The resources within the University of Delaware made it all come together.”

Companies: Avkin / University of Delaware
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