Dec
16
2021

Meet the Jump engineers

As an integral part of the OSF Innovation team, Jump Simulation engineers use their skills and talents in a variety of ways. Since the initial opening of Jump, our engineers have worked with clinicians, educators and other Mission Partners to create trainers that allow learners to practice routine skills, like suturing and performing an ultrasound.

They have also been instrumental in the 3D modeling work led by the OSF Innovation Advanced Imaging and Modeling Lab. The team converts MRIs and CT scans of anatomy into models that can be 3D printed or placed into technologies such as virtual reality for pre-surgical planning.

Engineer_600x400-(1).jpg As project ideas grow, the Jump engineers leverage their expertise in design and prototyping to help bring Mission Partner ideas to fruition. They also lead different Jump STEAM courses to spark young peoples’ curiosity and passion in health care engineering.

Here are some other details you may not know about Sister M. Pieta Keller, F.S.G.M. and Tate Ralph.


Q&A

What led you to Jump?

Tate:  As I was earning my degree at Bradley University, I knew didn’t want a traditional mechanical engineering career. So, I decided to specialize in biomedical engineering which gave me the chance to work with Jump on my senior project. This opened my eyes to opportunities where I could have an impact in the health care space.

Sister M. Pieta: I graduated with a biomedical engineering degree in 2012 and joined the workforce for a year before following my path to becoming a Sister. When committing your life to God, you can be called to serve in a number of ways based on the needs of the Church. It turns out there was a need for an innovation engineer at Jump which was an unexpected surprise!

What skills have you had to develop in order to make a difference for Mission Partners and the people we serve?

Sister M. Pieta: As a team, we have the mechanical, electrical, software and basic design skills we need to take on any project. However, we have also learned that we have to listen and understand the needs of our clinicians and patients before moving forward on a project. That means putting ourselves in our requesters’ shoes to provide the best solutions.

Tate: A lot of humility, first and foremost. We're in a field that hasn't been around as long as most other types of engineering. And so there's a lot of work we do that hasn't quite been perfected. We fail quite a bit when we first start a project we’ve never tackled before. But being able to take those failures and persevere until we create a solution that works for the people we’re trying to help is a big part of what we do.

What do you like most about your job?

Tate: We get to see every day how the work we’ve done directly impacts our patients and our Mission Partners. It's hard to downplay how important that is to me personally, and I know to Sister as well.
 
Sister M. Pieta: Our Mission Partners reach out to us when they don't have another solution or they are debating how to best serve their patients. Many times, they're coming to us when they're at their wit’s end, but know there has to be a solution somewhere. When God lets us be used to make someone's life better, increase their quality of care or to help our current team, it's really beautiful.

What types of projects do you like working on the most?

Sister M. Pieta: I like the little things that come with each project we do. It’s hearing a surgeon talk through and change their surgical plan as they're looking at a 3D model we’ve spent hours working on. It’s watching our medical students and other clinicians trying out our task trainers for the first time.  And it’s seeing the impact our work has on clinical care. It's neat to see how a couple hours of work can change the trajectory of a patient’s care.

Tate: If there is one part of my job that I would not give up, it's our work in segmentation. I love being able to take patient images and convert them into 3D models for not just our surgeons, but for our patients as well. That’s not how I thought I would ever be able to use my engineering skills. And it’s very satisfying to be somewhat connected to the care team.

As we head into the New Year, what are you looking forward to the most?

Tate: I think there's been a real push towards precision medicine and customized patient care. As engineers who are part of OSF Innovation, there's a real chance for us to be involved in some of that work. We’ve worked on a few use cases for that in radiation oncology, and I think there's a real opportunity for that to pick up some steam and be built into something that integrates directly with the new cancer center, or some of our other hospitals throughout the Ministry.

Sister M. Pieta: To piggyback off of Tate, we are both thrilled about getting a new 3D printer that will give us a chance to get more into customized patients solutions. We will be able to use new materials for printing that we can sterilize for use during a procedure or surgical case. This opens up a lot of neat opportunities that I can't wait to see unfold, so I'm very excited about that.

Learn more about our Mission Partners

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Categories: 3D Heart, 3D Printing, Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM), Bioengineering, Bradley University (BU), Engineering, Innovation, OSF Innovation, Simulation, STEM, Task Trainer, Virtual Reality (VR)