Monash students create new community for med-tech innovation

Founded just last year, new student-run initiative Monash Young MedTech Innovators (MYMI) has quickly grown into a community of over 400 motivated med-tech enthusiasts, all with an interest in creating new biomedical technologies that make a real difference to people’s lives.

Co-founders Darren Rajit and Santiago Beltran Diaz are fifth-year Engineering (Materials Science) and Biomedical Science double degree students with the desire to create change. Dreaming big, the pair’s vision is to turn Monash into an epicentre for healthcare innovation within the next five years, propelling Melbourne forward as a national centre of med-tech excellence.

“I see MYMI as my chance to shape the conversation around what's achievable by students, starting at Monash,” said Darren. “I’m seeking to change culture and create an organisation that can serve as a safe space where all are equal, where there’s license to step out of self-imposed limitations and start doing and figuring things out on the fly.”

Based in Engineering with strong links to the Monash Institute for Medical Engineering, MYMI is strongly cross-disciplinary, with their 24-member leadership team drawn from across the faculties of Engineering, Medicine, Science and Arts.

"I've been really impressed with the MYMI team, every one of them has a real passion to get things done that will make a difference,” said Engineering faculty advisor Andrew Rodda. “They just keep breaking through every barrier that comes along. I'm really looking forward to seeing their projects come to fruition."

MYMI have also found wider support, with Australia’s national med-tech accelerator The Actuator and Monash Generator partnering with the team to run MedHack: Enabled, their sold-out new flagship event running this weekend. The hackathon aims to bring students together at the intersection of design, engineering, healthcare and entrepreneurship in a 48-hour sprint to help reimagine the future of healthcare.

“With MedHack Enabled, we’re starting with the theme ‘Assistive Technology, allowing us to explore the conversation around disability and work, to imagine and co-design solutions that may address the challenges facing many of our families and friends,”  Darren explained. “Selling out the event has been hugely exciting, and I think the level of interest speaks volumes to the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare itself, and how working together with shared human values can transcend disciplines,” he said. “We've had quite a sizeable contingent from the University of Melbourne sign up as well, which has been super encouraging. We all want to be working on things that are bigger than ourselves.”

Partnering with Monash Generator was a logical step to help build in extra post-hackathon support. "In my previous experience of hackathons, people can hit the wall of ‘I'm not really sure where to take this, even though I'd like to keep working on this idea!’" he said. “The Generator provides a natural avenue for MedHack: Enabled participants to take their ideas to for further development.”

“The MedHack Enabled event is an excellent catalyst to bring diverse groups of students to work together on tackling some of the big health and medical challenges of today in an innovative way." Helena Fern, Program Manager of The Generator said. “We’re excited to see the establishment of MYMI at Monash and their approach to bringing students from different faculties together. We can't wait to see the innovations that emerge after the event."

For more information about Monash Young MedTech Innovators, follow them on Facebook or visit their website.