Biomedical engineering Ph.D. student named a finalist for CIMIT Prize

Melodie Benford, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named a finalist for the 2011 CIMIT Prize for Primary Healthcare.

Benford will be awarded $10,000 to develop a final proposal (due May 31) for her project, "An Innovative Point-of-Care Blood Biomarker Device for Diagnosing Heart Attacks."

Benford is one of 10 finalists in the contest, CIMIT (the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology) announced. Each engineering student team will be awarded $10,000 to develop a final proposal for innovative technology to serve the needs of the front lines of healthcare. This year's competition received applications from more than 33 different engineering programs nationwide.

Three top winners will then be chosen and announced June 30. The top three will receive $150,000, $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.

Demand for primary care in the United States has increased while the supply of primary-care professionals such as internists, family practitioners and pediatricians - healthcare providers who act as a first point of consultation for patients - has actually decreased. With the shortage of primary care professionals, innovative technology has the potential to improve access to and efficiency of patient care at that key connection point in the healthcare system. The CIMIT Prize competition offers valuable initial funding to engineering students to develop technologic innovations that offer great potential to support and catalyze improved delivery of healthcare at the frontlines of medicine.

For more about the competition, visit http://www.cimit.org/grants-cimitprize.html.