Community Discovery Program for Child Health Innovation.

Have you ever thought, “There must be a better way...?” Kids, parents, caregivers and other members of the community are invited to submit descriptions of challenges related to caring for children’s medical needs that may be improved with new medical device solutions.

share your experience with us here

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Medical Devices designed and built especially for kids.

We accelerate ideation, design, development, production and distribution of pediatric medical devices for the purpose of curing, alleviating and preventing pediatric disease.

Why all the special effort? Doctors, inventors and entrepreneurs need help, and infants, toddlers and adolescents need medical devices created specifically for them – for their needs, in their sizes. Because kids need lots of medical help that’s suited just for them, the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC) is helping deliver right-sized medical solutions that will prevent and alleviate pediatric medical problems, and cure diseases – in kids!


Inventors access expert advisory services – design, development and testing.

Physicians and inventors who have developed concepts or devices which can be applied to pediatric treatment but have no pathway to creation, engineering and device development, funding or other resources, can apply to PDIC for assistance in all areas of product development, testing and rollout. PDIC was established to serve creators of the very best innovations and solutions for pediatric care.

  • Clinical Need Assessment
  • Bio-design
  • Market Analysis
  • Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Business Planning
  • Community Resources
  • Bench Testing
  • Funding
  • Patenting
  • Late-phase Prototyping
  • Regulatory
  • Manufacturing Plan
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Confidential. Professional. World-class tools & support.



Medical Device Development Horsepower

The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the College of Science and Engineering, the School of Medicine, Medical Device Center and Life Science Alley all contribute to creating an extraordinary climate of opportunity that will help ensure your success. Get world-class resources and a global stage upon which to build your vision.



Better Medical Solutions for the Entire Industry

“Trickle-Up Innovation” means the ability to incubate ideas about problems the private market cannot solve and maximize their potential for success. PDIC generates ideation and design; accelerates development and production; and facilitates distribution and awareness for medical devices that help prevent, alleviate or cure pediatric disease. We believe devices created for infants and adolescents will ultimately result in “Trickle-Up Improvement” in devices for patients of all ages.

Physicians, Inventors get connected right now.

Board of Directors

Dr. Arthur G. Erdman, Ph.D.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota

Dr. Arthur G. Erdman is the Richard C. Jordan Professor and a Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, specializing in mechanical design, bioengineering and product design. He also serves as Director of the Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota and is the Co-editor of the ASME Journal of Medical Devices. He received his B.S. degree at Rutgers University, his M.S. and Ph.D. at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Erdman has published over 370 technical papers, three books, holds 35 patents (plus 10 pending) and shares with his former students nine Best Paper Awards at international conferences. He has consulted at over 50 companies in mechanical, biomedical and product design, including Xerox, 3M, Andersen Windows, Proctor and Gamble, HP, Rollerblade, Sulzer Medica, St. Jude Medical and Yamaha.

Bill Betten

Vice President of Business Solutions at Logic PD

Bill Betten is the Vice President of Business Solutions at Logic PD, a medical device consultant and was formerly the Medical Technology Director at UBM TechInsights (Ottawa, ON). He also served as the Vice President of Engineering for Nonin Medical (Plymouth, MN). Before that, he held various positions with executive and management responsibility at a number of firms including 3M, Teradyne, Plasmon IDE, Datacard and Honeywell. He also has served as a Program/Project Manager for a number of product development efforts in a range of technical sectors. Betten holds a number of degrees including a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.S. in electrical engineering.

Randall L. Schiestl

Vice President of Global Operations & Technology at Boston Scientific Corporation

Randall L. Schiestl, PMP, is the Vice President of Global Operations & Technology, Engineering Services Group at Boston Scientific Corporation, focusing on new product development of minimally invasive medical devices. Randy has a B.S.M.E. degree from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology with high distinction. He also holds M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. degrees from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. Randy’s work history includes Honeywell, Alliant Techsystems and Boston Scientific with functional responsibilities in project and program management, product and process development, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing management, supply chain, quality, test facilities and operations. Randy received the UMAA Alumni Service Award from the University of Minnesota College of Science & Engineering in 2011 and the Design of Medical Devices Conference Award in 2012.

Annamarie Saarinen

Founder & CEO, Newborn Foundation

Annamarie Saarinen is a Humphrey Policy Fellow and the Co-founder of the Newborn Foundation | Newborn Coalition, a nonprofit focused on leveraging health IT and medical technologies to improve outcomes and reduce disparities for the youngest patients. She is currently serving in an advisory capacity for multiple states in health IT policy and standards, and is recognized for spearheading the federal effort to add congenital heart defects to the universal newborn screening panel for all four million annual births in the United States. She also serves on numerous advisory boards, including the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, Children’s HeartLink International Editorial Board, Region 4 Genetics Collaborative, the federal HRSA CCHD screening workgroup, and the March of Dimes Public Affairs Committee. Annamarie is the recipient of the renowned Betty Hubbard Maternal and Child Health Leadership Award and has co-authored several manuscripts on the importance of technology in advancing early detection and treatment of pediatric illnesses, diseases and disorders. She is the lead investigator for the Newborn Foundation’s Innovation Incubator — forging concepts and public/private partnerships to advance technology development and deployment in support of pediatric health. Annamarie is the mother of three children, including a daughter diagnosed with Critical Congenital Heart Disease. She holds a degree in Economics from Iowa State University and did her Master's work in Health Economics.

Frank Jaskulke

Director of Member Services at Life Science Alley

Frank Jaskulke is the Director of Member Services for LifeScience Alley with responsibilities for member service, retention, development and government affairs. In Frank’s membership role, he seeks to facilitate new business and clinical opportunities. In Frank’s government affairs role, he seeks to advocate for affordable and accessible healthcare technology and Minnesota economic development. Prior to joining LifeScience Alley he served as a page for the House Biosciences Committee in the Minnesota State Legislature. Frank received his B.A. and Master’s degrees in Political Science from the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses of the University of Minnesota.

Karen Kaehler

Technology Strategy Manager at the University of Minnesota

Karen worked previously at the University of Minnesota as coordinator for the Center for Plants and Human Health, and the Center for Dietary Supplement Safety. Karen has over 20 years of experience in the medical device, health information and biosciences industries. She has a successful history of transitioning projects from strategic development to implementation, and has led over two dozen product development and launch teams with such companies as ICAN, Schneider (USA) and American Medical Systems. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology, advanced training in Physiology, and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota Carlson School.

Susan Alpert, Ph.D., M.D.

CEO in Residence at Medical Industry Leadership Institute Carlson School of Management

Susan Alpert was most recently the Senior Vice President and Chief Regulatory Officer of Medtronic and was responsible for all Medtronic global regulatory efforts. Prior to joining Medtronic, Dr. Alpert served as Vice President of Regulatory Sciences for C.R. Bard, Inc. She also previously worked at the FDA, where she held a variety of positions in the centers dealing with drugs, devices and radiological health, and foods, including six years as the Director of the Office of Device Evaluation. Dr. Alpert is a microbiologist and a pediatrician with a specialty in infectious diseases, and has practical experience in laboratory research and clinical trials. Dr. Alpert completed her undergraduate degree at Barnard College, Columbia University and holds a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from New York University. She received her Medical Degree from the University of Miami (Florida) and completed her clinical training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York and at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Marie Steiner, M.D.

Pediatric Critical Care Physician and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, Division of Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Marie Steiner is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, as well as the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, at the University of Minnesota. She attends on the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology service and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Steiner received her M.S. degree in Genetics at the University of Minnesota in 1978 before earning her M.D. there in 1982. She moved to West Virginia University in 1990 with her husband, a native of the state. At WVU, she started a pediatric bone marrow transplant program. She also served as pediatric critical chair division chair and PICU director, and started a PICU fellowship. She returned to the University of Minnesota in 1997.

Ralph F. Hall

Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School

In addition to his position at the University of Minnesota Law School, Ralph is Counsel to the Indianapolis, Indiana law firm of Baker & Daniels where he counsels clients in the area of drug and medical device regulation. He also serves as CEO of MR3 Medical LLC, a start-up medical device company. Professor Hall served in various capacities with Guidant Corporation, including Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Litigation and Compliance and General Counsel of the Cardiac Rhythm Management group, as well as serving as Special Counsel to the Guidant Board of Directors Compliance Committee and as Counsel to the Guidant Chief Compliance Officer. Prior to joining Guidant, he was with Eli Lilly as the head of Lilly’s worldwide environmental law group. Professor Hall received his B.A. from Indiana University in 1974 and his J.D. from the University of Michigan where he was a Weymouth Kirkland Scholar.

David W. Black

Patent Attorney at Schwegman, Lundberg, and Woessner

David maintains a diverse practice with an emphasis on portfolio development and due diligence. In his time as an Electrical Engineer, David designed low voltage analog circuits and digital electronic circuits for Telex Communications, Inc. and later, for a small hearing aid manufacturer. After recognizing the strategic business advantage accorded by a strong patent portfolio, David proceeded to law school, and after a year with a small patent law firm, joined the Schwegman firm in Minneapolis. At the Schwegman firm, David has distinguished himself by providing strategic patent services for sophisticated clients including many academic institutions. David has successfully leveraged the resources of the Schwegman firm to help his clients achieve solid patent protection and continued commercial success.

Brad Slaker

CEO at DesignWise Medical

Brad brings over 20 years' experience in the for-profit medical device industry, including extensive experience in all aspects of medical device product development from concept generation, product development and refinement, regulatory submissions, quality system requirements, manufacturing development, surgeon/physician relationships, project management and the management of engineering staff and cross-functional project teams. He also holds seven patents for various medical devices. Slaker has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.

Jodi Fenlon Rebuffoni

Child Health Advocate

Jodi has more than twelve years of academic and industry-based experience in therapeutics development and translational research. Jodi advocates for pediatric health and technological advances for children with cognitive disabilities based on her experiences with her son who has Down syndrome and special medical needs. Jodi currently works as a Project Manager at the University of Minnesota and previously held positions at the Schulze Diabetes Institute and MGI Pharma, Inc. Jodi holds a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Laura-Lee F. Brown

Upstream Marketing & Strategy Manager at Medtronic

Laura-Lee has medical device experience in upstream marketing & strategy, international strategic technology evaluation, clinical translation, research and product development, manufacturing and project management. She holds an MBA from Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Canada. Brown’s industry experience includes heart failure, tissue heart valves, annuloplasty heart valve repair rings, prosthetic vein valves, vascular catheters, low-profile feeding tubes, convective warming blankets, convective warmers, bone regeneration, facial trauma, sleep medicine, metastatic and liver oncology, pediatrics, electrocautery and surgical safety. She is an alumnus of both the Medical Device Innovation Fellowship at the University of Minnesota and the Sands Fellowship in Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management.

Thomas L. Armitage, M.D.

Tom recently retired after 25 years with Medtronic. At the time of his retirement, Tom served as the Vice President of Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs for the Medtronic Structural Heart business. Tom’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in medicine, both from the University of Minnesota. The majority of his Medtronic career was spent bringing innovative new heart valves to market, including Freestyle, Mosaic, Hancock II, Melody and, most recently, the CoreValve transcatheter valve. Tom’s personal career interests involved the development of medical devices that served children with cardiac diseases. Outside of his career, Tom has had the opportunity to work on children’s cardiac care issues internationally through his participation on the board of Children’s HeartLink, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit bringing pediatric cardiac surgical training to developing countries. Tom’s service to Children’s HeartLink spanned 11 years, including two years as board chair from 2005 – 2007. Tom has served on the board of another Minneapolis nonprofit, Camp Odayin, for the past six years and is currently the board chair. Camp Odayin serves children with congenital heart disease. Click here to see more.

Gwenyth Fischer, M.D.

Gwenyth Fischer is a pediatric Critical Care Physician at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital PICU and CVICU. She is also an alumnus of the Medical Device Innovation Fellows Program at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Fischer founded and currently directs the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC), and is always focused on getting pediatric technologies to market. She has been a co-inventor of several adult and pediatric medical devices and currently acts as the clinical advisor for the Medical Device Center fellows program.

Become a Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering your time in pediatric medical device innovation, the PDIC can help connect you to inventors needing assistance.

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