The Massachusetts-South Africa Technology Fellowship Program (MSAT) is made possible by a generous grant from the United States Department of State. It is designed to bring emerging leaders from South Africa to Boston for five weeks of internship in the high tech, information technology and life sciences industries. The selected Fellows arrived earlier in October and are now placed in companies within the targeted industries to learn first-hand how issues in their fields are addressed in the United States. While deepening their understanding of American society, the visiting participants are also building a broad network made up of both their new American colleagues and the other visiting Fellows.

On Friday, October 11th, M2D2 participated in the welcome dinner for their fellow, Thys Cronje, and others in this second cohort of the fellowship program.

Thys is the Managing Director of Diacoustic Medical Devices, located in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Diacoustic Medical Devices was founded in 2007 and the company focuses on the design, development and manufacture of decision support systems for medical and health applications in the e-health and m-health environment. Diacoustic Medical Devices is in the process of developing and commercializing a rapid, low cost screening device, called Sensi, that can be utilized by professional nurses, primary physicians and pediatricians irrespective of geographical location and/or economic situation, to screen large number of children in a hospital, clinic, child health clinic or mobile-clinic environment for pathological heart murmurs.

M2D2 opened their doors to welcome Thys and embraces the medical device technology he brings. He participated in an economic development roundtable discussion with University of Massachusetts President Robert Caret, University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, as well as with other start-up companies from the M2D2 innovation hub, and Lowell business and community leaders.

Thys participated in M2D2’s program with Lowell High School. He schooled these high school juniors and seniors in the medical device industry and entrepreneurship in his native South Africa. He also accompanied the students on a tour of the nursing simulation lab at the University of Massachusetts Lowell School of Nursing where they saw first-hand the assistive treatment of infant respiratory issues. This session was followed by a welcome lunch at M2D2.

M2D2 arranged for Thys Cronje to meet with medical field experts at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center to learn about usability studies and other opportunities for collaboration. Under the direction of the executive director, he toured the simulation center and anatomy labs.

The second worksite placement week of this fellowship program coincides with Connected Health Week in Boston. Thys Cronje and M2D2 will be participating in several of the events.



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M2D2 and Lowell High School Kick Off Unique Partnership

Lowell High School and the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center are pleased to announce that today they kicked off a unique partnership where juniors and seniors from the school will take part in an experience here at the M2D2 innovation hub located in Wannalancit Mill. This experience is in the form of an honors level elective course titled, ‘M2D2 Partnership Experience.’

Under guidance from M2D2 co-directors Stephen McCarthy, Ph.D and Steven Tello, and with hands-on assistance from two UTeach interns, the high school students will learn about and actively participate in entrepreneurship, business and medical device development. An event will be held at the end of the school year to showcase the students’ experience and inventions.

Corporate sponsors of the M2D2 Partnership Experience for this inaugural year are Eastern Bank and Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. Eastern Bank is supportive under its workforce development initiative and Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union brings its hands-on expertise in financial literacy to these Lowell High School students.

Professor McCarthy welcomed the students to the program. He shared that he is a graduate of Lowell High School and ‘wished there was a program like this when I was there.’ Professor Tello also welcomed the students and added, ‘I am looking forward to working with you from an entrepreneurial perspective and digging into ideation.’ Lowell High School senior and program participant, Daniel Ernst, addressed the audience, ‘I want to speak for the group of us and thank everyone involved for this opportunity. We are very excited.’

UTeach interns are involved in this partnership experience under the direction of Sumudu Lewis, Ph.D, UMass Lowell UTeach Director and Master Teacher. Interns involved in this partnership experience, John Romano and Kreg Kaminski, shared about their backgrounds as UMass Lowell students and also shared how much they are looking forward to mentoring the students and what they will accomplish with them.

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