Encore Mentorship Program

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Encore Mentors working with a Student

The Encore Program at the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, University of Minnesota consists of mid- and late-career professionals and retirees who volunteer their expertise in biomedical engineering and device-related innovation for the benefit of patients and patient care across the age range.

Encore members are clinicians, caregivers, engineers of all stripes, biologic scientists, business people, physicians, nurses, computer professionals and innovators and experts who mentor students and fellows, and contribute to new devices and approaches to patient care and diagnosis.

We welcome new Encore members at any time so please contact the program leaders if interested.

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Encore Mentor Activities

  • Meet and interact with internationally recognized experts in device design and clinical care and innovation.
  • Discuss your ideas and contemporary challenges in clinical care, engineering, and sciences.
  • Mentor and share your expertise with young, upcoming experts. (our Innovation Fellows, Masters & PhD students, and summer interns).
  • Give back some of what you know to the next generation.
  • Teach students your field of expertise--machine shop, milling, or virtual reality skills (among many other specialized needs).
  • Solve that clinical or design problem you never quite mastered.
  • Connect and collaborate with like-minded professionals, both established and on-the-rise.
  • Brainstorm new and exciting materials, methods and solutions across a broad spectrum of needs.
  • Evaluate production, legal and practicality issues in a creative environment.
  • Help us with the next generation of treatments and devices.
  • Build on the amazing devices and solutions from your career.
  • Share with other "encore" professionals, cross-pollinating each other’s experiences and unique solutions.
  • Take advantage of learning opportunities throughout the campus, library and medical community.
  • Participate in optimizing the BMDC laboratories and workshops.
  • Involve yourself in the newest methods, technologies and solutions.
  • Explore the resources of the BMDC for designing and prototyping of new ideas.
  • Reactivate/recapture your excitement for the innovative, inventive process.

Meet Our Encore Mentors

Mark Austin

Mark Austin, MD

Bachelor of Arts, University of Minnesota
Medical Degree, University of Minnesota
Radiology Residency, Case Western Reserve University
Cross Sectional Imaging Fellowship, University of California San Francisco
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy, retired

Practice emphasis over the past 20 years includes extensive experience working as a Musculoskeletal Radiologist in a Musculoskeletal Subspeciality pool at St Paul Radiology and, more recently, as a Breast Imaging Specialist at the Piper Breast Center in Minneapolis.

Currently working as a Diagnostic Radiologist at the Mayo Clinic, Mankato


 

Susan Austin

Susan Austin, MD

Susan Austin is a Diagnostic Radiologist who received BS Chemical Engineering, BA Physiology and MD degrees from the University of Minnesota. She trained at Case Western Reserve University and completed a cross sectional imaging fellowship at UCSF. Susan worked at Naval Hospitals in Okinawa Japan and Charleston, South Carolina before returning to the Twin Cities to work in private practice and is currently working at the Mayo Clinic.

Susan learned about the MDC during her daughter's UMN Medical School orientation and looks forward to working with the Innovation Fellows using her knowledge of anatomy and experience with all imaging modalities

 


 

Bill Betten

William (Bill) Betten

Bill is the president of Betten Systems Solutions LLC, a product development realization consulting organization with an emphasis on early stage product development and commercialization. Bill also serves as Sr. Vice President of Product Development and Engineering for ClearIt LLC. In addition, Bill works as Director of Solutions for medical devices for S3 Connected Health, a software/systems development firm specializing in digital health. Bill utilizes his years of experience as an engineer, program manager, and executive in the medical industry to advance device product developments into the medical and life sciences industries. Bill served as Director of Business Solutions for Devicix/Nortech Systems, Vice President of Business Solutions at Logic PD, medical technology Director at TechInsights, Vice President of engineering at Nonin Medical, and in a variety of executive, technology and product development roles at various high-tech firms, including Honeywell and 3M. He has been directly involved in a variety of medical developments, including hearing aids, perfusion systems, PACS and medical imaging, networking/storage, telemedicine, vital signs monitoring systems, and mobile health. His design/manufacturing consulting experience extends from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. His non-medical product development experience includes semiconductors, aerospace/defense, and industrial applications, including connected devices as part of IoT.

Bill is a member of the IEEE, Computer Society, and the American Telemedicine Association. He has served on medical Editorial Advisory boards as well as Advisory Boards for the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium, for St. Thomas University, for the SD School of Mines and Technology where he is also an entrepreneur in residence, for Minnesota State University (Mankato), for Medical Alley’s R&D Advisory Group, and is a noted author and lecturer. He has served in many roles in his home community, including city council, planning commission, and economic development authority. Bill received bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics from SD School of Mines and Technology, and a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota as well as continuing executive education at Babson College.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • Extensive new product development expertise and proven ability to deliver products to market (from paper to production)
  • Electronic, software, systems and materials product development expertise.
  • Collaboration with customers and partners to identify a need, define requirements, and develop a solution (comfortable in the "fuzzy front end")
  • Business development and strategic planning capabilities.
  • Lecturer and Writer on Product Development, Medical Devices, Digital Health.
  • University Advisor and Mentor
  • BS Physics, BS EE, MS EE, Certificate in Adv. Management, PMP certification
  • System Integration with product development expertise in a variety of application areas:
    • Medical Devices and Systems (Hearing Aids, Telemedicine, Vital Signs Measurement, PACS, Diabetes, Telemedicine, Remote Monitoring, Digital Health)
    • Embedded Software Systems (DSP, Real-time machine control, robotics, measurement systems)
    • Application Software Development, particularly for data collection and cloud computing systems
    • Sensors, Image and Signal Processing Internet of Things and connected devices, Data Storage, and Networking
    • RFID and Mobile Communications (Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC, MICS, WIFI, Cellular)
    • Integrated Circuit Technology (Custom, ASIC, FPGA)

 

Edward Black

Edward Black, MBA

Edward Black spent 13 years consulting with medical technology companies around the world advising them on reimbursement, market access and health economics in the highly complex U.S. market. Mr. Black offers a strong understanding of payer perspectives in health policy and excels in translating government and private payer policies into successful reimbursement planning. He founded his own consulting company in 2008 (Reimbursement Strategies, LLC) which was acquired by NAMSA in 2018.

Prior to medtech consulting, Mr. Black worked for over 25 years in medical management and hospital and physician relations within the Blue Cross Blue Shield system and served on two national advisory boards responsible for driving consistency in medical, benefit, and payment policy across the Blue Cross system. During this time, he served as the executive director of three managed care business partnerships with large multispecialty clinics for which he was awarded the 1995 Outstanding Contribution to the Healthcare Industry citation by the Medical Alley Association.

Mr. Black has an MBA and has been involved in several global medical technology initiatives. He has been a frequent international lecturer in Canada, Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan and China. Mr. Black is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Minnesota Master of Science in Medical Device Innovation Program and Reimbursement Advisor to the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization and the National University of Ireland-Galway BioExel and BioInnovate medical technology accelerators.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • Reimbursement Landscape Assessment: A research-based report that identifies possible reimbursement barriers to the successful introduction of a new device. It includes a review of current coding, coverage and payment circumstances affecting the technology. An assessment will always precede development of a strategy.
  • Reimbursement Strategy: Development of a specific strategy of goals and objectives with a budget targeted toward reimbursement barriers that would otherwise limit broad market adoption of emerging medical technology including the use of clinical and health economics evidence to secure coverage.
  • Stakeholder Analysis: An examination of who benefits or is disadvantaged (clinically or economically) by the introduction of a new technology. This helps in development of a Reimbursement Strategy.
  • Reimbursement Due Diligence: An assessment designed for early and late-stage potential investors to assess market risk prior to investment.
  • Coding Analysis and New Code Applications: HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Code System) and CPT (Current Procedure Terminology)
  • Medical Policy Research: Secondary research to determine current coverage status for similar technologies among Medicare and commercial insurance companies.
  • Payment Analysis: An examination of the methodology and payment amounts, if any, for a new technology based on the anticipated setting of service. Note: The same service is paid differently whether it is performed as a hospital inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory surgery center or office-based procedure. Government and commercial insurance payments also vary.
  • Preparation of Materials for Payers to Support Adoption: Reimbursement Guides, FAQs, Draft Appeal Letters.
  • Coverage During IDE Clinical Studies: Preparation of application and other materials to secure coverage from the federal Medicare program for either a Category A (Experimental) or Category B (Investigative) medical device during the course of a study.
  • Health Economic Analyses:
    • Cost Effectiveness Analyses (used to evaluate the relative cost of new technologies or treatments – important to payers when new treatments are more expensive, but also more effective)
    • Cost Minimization Analysis (used when new treatment is less expensive and at least as effective)
    • Budget Impact Models (a comprehensive study of third party payer payments, technology costs and savings that will result from the adoption of the proposed technology)

 

Jeffery DeGrange

Jeff DeGrange, MS

Current Chief Commercial Officer of Impossible Objects Incorporated, a 3D Composites Chicago company responsible for product and business development, past Stratasys Vice President of Product Development, past Boeing Company Research and Technology senior manager for advanced manufacturing materials and technologies.

Jeff is the past Chairman of Society of Manufacturing Engineering (SME) Additive Committee, former Chairman of the Germany’s Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC), technology advisor to National Science Foundation, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, University of Iowa College of Engineering and current board member to Precision ADM in Winnipeg, Canada.

He holds multiple patents and has a Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering from Washington University and received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • Additive manufacturing materials and processes
  • Manufacturing
  • Technology transition
  • Government funding
  • Venture capital funding
  • Business development

 

chuck-dennis

Charles (Chuck) Dennis, II, JD

Chuck Dennis has 35+ years of experience in technology assessment, licensing, partnering, mergers & acquisitions and R&D. As Vice-President Business Development in Medtronic’s $5 billion Cardiac Rhythm business, he led start-up and new technology evaluation, investment, mergers and acquisition, external R&D partnerships and licensing. Before Medtronic, Mr. Dennis created a new licensing business at 3M and helped create the $2 billion spin-out of Imation from 3M. At Imation, he turned the Specialty Data Storage operation from a $40 million money-losing business into a $60 million profitable one in 10 months. Prior to these business roles, Mr. Dennis practiced IP law for 15 years, in private practice, at John Deere and 3M. Mr. Dennis currently serves as an Executive-in-Residence mentoring start-ups at the University of Minnesota, as co-founder of a start-up developing new medical diagnostic technology and as an outside attorney supporting Medtronic’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. Mr. Dennis has a BA in Physics from Carleton College, and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.


 

Neil Derechin

Neil Derechin, MD

Neil Derechin is a recently retired anesthesiologist/pediatrician who spent 31 years in clinical practice with Associated Anesthesiologists, PA. The vast majority of his time was at St. Paul Children’s Hospital and United Hospital. He received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at Brown University and obtained an MD at Washington University in St. Louis. Subsequently he completed residencies in pediatrics and anesthesia at the University of California-San Francisco. While at UCSF he participated in research on a synthetic surfactant in preterm rabbits.

Throughout my career I have been passionate about trying to improve health care of children in underdeveloped and low resource countries. I have been on 20 volunteer overseas medical exchanges in Peru, Uganda, China, Cambodia, and Fiji with organizations such as Childrens HeartLink, Health Volunteers Overseas, Love Without Boundaries, and Programa San Francisco de Asis. These exchanges are some of the best forms of diplomacy between countries. During these trips our medical teams always worked hand-in- hand with the local doctors and nurses to improve their skills.

I am married to Beatrice Rothweiler and have two daughters. My wife and I have been very involved in the Chinese-American community in the Twin Cities and non profit volunteering. We love the outdoors (hiking, canoeing, cycling, gardening) and the arts. I look forward to assisting fellows in any way possible.


 

jay-erstling

Jay Erstling, JD

Jay Erstling recently retired from Patterson Thuente IP, where he was Of Counsel. Jay served as an advisor to clients interested in all aspects of international patenting, including filing strategies, best PCT practices, foreign prosecution, country selection, working with foreign counsel, and foreign enforcement. Jay’s expertise in international patent law and practice comes from decades of experience in the international patent arena. Prior to joining Patterson Thuente, Jay was the Director of the Office of the PCT (the Patent Cooperation Treaty – the international patent filing system) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, the UN specialized agency devoted to promoting and protecting intellectual property). As Director, Jay oversaw the administration of the worldwide PCT legal framework and led the PCT and all its member countries through a successful policy reform, expansion and modernization effort.

Jay’s career also has a lengthy academic side. He is a professor emeritus at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where his teaching and research focused on international and comparative patent law, and he had stints as a visiting professor at several foreign law faculties, including Northwest University (Xibei Daxue) in X’ian, China, the National Law School of India in Bangalore, and Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. Jay was a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka and in Cyprus, and he is the co-author of two books (The Practitioner’s Guide to the PCT, and International Patent Law and Policy) and lots of articles. He has also led more seminars and made more presentations on the PCT than he can count.

Jay looks forward to working with Fellows who are interested in learning about and exploring international protection for their medical devices.


 

dan-flesher

Dan Flesher, MBA

Dan Flesher retired from Ecolab as a Vice President of Marketing , with a special focus on bringing new and innovative products and programs to market. Within Ecolab’s Institutional Division, he developed and launched programs in a number of arenas including water treatment, food safety , employee safety, laundry and warewashing programs. Prior to marketing, he worked for Procter & Gamble, Benckiser and Ecolab in numerous R&D and technical capacities including Product Development and Process Development. Since retirement in 2010, he founded AHA! Innovation where he is the IDEATOR for consulting to smaller and startup businesses who are looking for instant marketing and technical insights to their product launch challenges.

Dan’s academic background includes a BSChE from the U of MN, as well as an MBA in marketing from the University of St. Thomas.

Dan looks forward to working with Fellows who are interested in learning about the basic fundamentals of bringing their products to market, while increasing the “fun” and “excitement” of the journey!


 

scott-henderson

Scott (Scottie) Henderson, MBA

Scott is a global marketing executive with over twenty five years experience in developing and commercializing innovative medical technology. Scott’s areas of expertise include; general surgery, laparoscopic surgery, pacing and neuromodulation, plastic and reconstructive surgery, wound and skin care as well as telehealth.

Scott’s career has taken him to United States Surgical Corporation, Medtronic, Coloplast and Smith & Nephew. He has also helped to bring a number of small scale technologies to market in the eHealth and wound care space.

He is passionate about using new technology to improve patient lives and well-being.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • Needs assessment
  • Evaluation of new concepts
  • Business turnarounds
  • Business planning and expansion
  • Marketing with global reach
  • General surgery devices
  • Ultrasonic scalpel
  • Hydrosurgery Laparoscopic surgery
  • Pacing and neuromodulation
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Would care and dressings
  • Skin care
  • Remote monitoring
  • Innovation
  • Disrupting the status quo

 

mary-bullis

Mary Margaret McMahon Bullis, MAN, RN, CCRN-K, PhD candidate

Mary McMahon Bullis, PhD(c), MAN, RN, CCRN-K is a Registered Nurse with 30 years of experience serving adults with complex chronic cardiovascular conditions in critical care and ambulatory settings. Various roles throughout her career shaped her expertise in the compassionate delivery of care as a researcher, innovator, and educator. As a communications electrician in the U.S. Navy, she served on a repair ship to support fast attack submarine navigation and radar systems. Melding her experience as a nurse and electrician has been valuable during her nursing career. Her roles as an RN Care Coordinator and Electrophysiology Nurse Clinician supported dynamic cardiology practices in care delivery for individuals undergoing device implants, ablations, and laser lead extraction. In her current role at M Health Fairview, she continues to engage in innovation in healthcare delivery from the bedside to the chart.

Mary’s passion for life-long learning has led her to continue her education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing where she is currently a PhD candidate. The focus of her dissertation is exploring psychosocial factors of living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. She was recently selected to participate in the Graduate Nursing Student Academy Digital Innovators Program in conjunction with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and Apple Education to build her skillset as a digital creator and advance the use of technology in nursing education.

Mary is supported in her endeavors by husband and children, professional and personal colleagues, and let’s not forget her 4 year old Labrador retriever. In her free time, she enjoys reading and time with family and friends.


 

jim-patterson

James (Jim) Patterson, JD

Jim Patterson is a founding partner of Patterson Thuente IP, a full-service intellectual property law firm serving clients around the globe. In his 30-plus years of experience, Jim’s practice has encompassed all aspects of IP law, including patent prosecution, licensing, dispute mediation, and litigation. A recognized leader in the legal community, Jim works with mid-size and large, regional technology companies, as well as Fortune Global 500 corporations, providing them with senior-level strategic counsel.

Access to justice for the disadvantaged has been an important part of Jim’s career. Jim was instrumental in developing the first pro bono patent law program in the US. He is Chair of the AIA Pro Bono Advisory Council, a national organization coordinating the efforts of 20 regional pro bono programs, and is a liaison to the WIPO Inventor Assistance Program, an initiative in cooperation with the World Economic Forum.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • IP portfolio management
  • Competitive analysis
  • Offensive and defensive strategy development
  • Freedom-to-operate (FTO) opinions
  • Clearance searches
  • Enforcement strategy and analysis
  • Global market-protection strategies
  • Inventor issue resolution

Access to justice for the disadvantaged has been an important part of Jim’s career. Over the past several years, Jim has been instrumental in not only developing the first pro bono patent law program in the US, but also providing start-up guidance to patent pro bono programs across the country. He is Chair of the AIA Pro Bono Advisory Council, a national organization coordinating the efforts of 20 regional pro bono programs, and is a liaison to the WIPO Inventor Assistance Program, an initiative in cooperation with the World Economic Forum.

Additional details are available on Jim's Company Bio.


 

susan-piazza

Susan J. Piazza, MD

Special Skills and Experience:

  • American Board of Internal Medicine Diplomate
    • Emeritus Professor NorthShore University Health System, Evanston IL (12/31/2020)
    • Medical Director NorthShore University Employee Health and OMEGA Occupational Medicine. (2010-2020)
  • At the helm of initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Worked closely with infection control establishing protocols, training colleagues and managing ill and exposed employees.
    • Emergency Medicine physician at Rush University, Chicago IL (1990-2001)
    • Years of experience managing acute injuries and illness. (in the ED and as a staff physician 1990-2010)
  • Procedures performed over the years: Lumbar puncture, abdominal paracentesis, arthrocentesis (knee), suturing, slit lamp examinations and basic splinting.

 

tony-reif

Tony Reif

Born and raised in White Bear Lake, MN. Graduated from Hill-Murray High School and then the University of St. Thomas in Strategic Marketing Management.

I’ve been working in the manufacturer’s representative business since 2000, and have been working in the medical device space for most of that time. Our firm, Peterson Enterprises, represents companies in all types of mechanical components and assemblies, as well as electronics, wearables, and custom therapeutic garments. We then bring those companies to our customers as potential suppliers.

During my tenure, I’ve been working with all varieties of medical device companies, from startup to large, multinational corporations, and from supply chain to engineering and quality.

I am married with two children, who are currently in school in the University of Minnesota system. My father graduated from the U of Minnesota Medical School, and three of my siblings graduated from the U of Minnesota in other disciplines. My interests include coaching hockey, golf, water sports, and tennis.

Special Skills and Experience:

  • Machining (swiss)
  • molding (plastic/metal/amorphous metal/silicone/urethane dip, rubber/elastomeric)
  • casting (v-process, die, perm mold, investment)
  • catheter tipping and fabrication
  • sheet metal fabrication for enclosures
  • medical converting
  • precision stamping
  • fine blanking, powdered metal
  • custom stitching/sewing/RF sealing
  • tubular insulation
  • springs/wire forms
  • cold heading

 

roger-worm

Roger Worm, MBA

Backed by 35 years of experience in consulting to large and small companies, I work with clients in the areas of market and product growth, management structure evaluation, management improvement and mentorship, intellectual property development and analysis, and product development and improvement.

I work with clients to solve problems and drive product advancements with skills in business and product management, plastic conversion, materials compounding, and product development including material, process and design interrelationship optimization.

Roger Sheldon

Roger Sheldon, Coordinator

marge-hartfel

Marge Hartfel