Featured: Innovative Minds in Vet Med- Megan Sprinkle

Med Dimensions sits down with Dr. Megan Sprinkle, veterinarian and host of the Vet Life Reimagined Podcast.

When did you know you were going to be a veterinarian? I’m one of those veterinarians who loved animals from a very young age and dreamed of working with them. I wanted to be the Jane Goodall of dolphins. My father told my mother, “let her swim with the dolphins once and get it out of her system.” Each animal experience fueled my interest and curiosity, so I did not “get it out” so to say. 🙂 

What challenges have you been able to overcome in your career? 

Probably like most people, there have been many challenges along my career journey. From the very beginning, I had school counselors try to deter me from veterinary medicine, especially working with exotic animals. I had to be proactive in seeking experiences, staying curious, asking questions, finding mentorship even in small doses. One challenge was understanding that it’s okay to evolve my interests and explore new things. When I hit challenges in zoo medicine, I explored other interests and found that I really enjoyed different paths in veterinary medicine like small animal nutrition. Another challenge I’ve run across multiple times is avoiding the narrow perception of “veterinarian” from others. A veterinarian can do so many things and still be a veterinarian. Don’t let someone’s lack of knowledge define how you live out your veterinary life!

You’re the host of an awesome podcast- tell us about how that started and how you see it progressing in the future? 

While I wasn’t the earliest adopter of podcasts, I’ve been a podcast enthusiast since before 2020. I dreamed of starting my own podcast and started studying how to do it. Hopefully, my previous answers have shown my passion for career pathing and being creative and curious in the field. Also being a veterinarian in industry, I have many veterinary professionals ask me about other career options outside of clinics. The microphone that my sweet husband gave me shows up in Zoom calls, so I had a group whom I was teaching ask me about the “fancy” microphone. I said I was trying to start a podcast and told them my idea for a podcast that demonstrates all the different things people could do in the veterinary profession. I was met with such enthusiasm that it was the exact encouragement I needed to get started. 

You have a connection to 3D printing. How did you get involved in that and how do you see that platform growing? 

Back in 2019, a coworker convinced my husband to get a 3D printer. Mike’s natural figure-it-out skills had him quickly learning the art of 3D printing. In fact, our wedding decor, including cupcake toppers, were 3D printed by him using a single Monoprice mini 3D printer. He loved how it could be an outlet for creativity used both for fun and functional items. About a year later, Mike hit a huge wall of burn out from his IT career. Interestingly, one of the specific feelings he voiced was a loss of “creativity”. We sat and discussed how he could do more of what helped him feel creative and joyful. I believe that helping others is a great way to find gratitude and joy. Mike mentioned that he saw a lot of 3D printers put up for sale on Facebook Marketplace with descriptions like “Barely used; I couldn’t figure it out.” or “didn’t have time to learn it.” This frustrated Mike because he enjoyed 3D printing so much and believed people could learn with a little guidance. So, we started making YouTube videos to teach people how to 3D print. When I was convinced to go to the Veterinary Innovation Summit in August of 2021, I saw a booth for 3D printing, I was excited to find something that combined my veterinary background and 3D printing, which I had seen bring so much joy to my husband. It’s exciting when two worlds of joy meet – all striving to help people and animals. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Mike and I recently moved to Savannah, so right now spare time is unpacking boxes, but I wanted to move to Savannah to be closer to the ocean, so I hope to spend more time walking the beach. I’m an avid learner, so I’m usually listening to podcasts and reading in every moment of spare time. I also feel the benefits of fitness, so I incorporate exercise daily into my morning routine. Some of my favorites are kickboxing and jogging on the treadmill with some fun music blasting in my headphones.  

Do you have a favorite animal you like to work with or is it too difficult to choose? 

One of my favorite veterinary moments was working with elephants in Zambia with the Elephant Orphanage Project. Spending large amounts of time with these animals, especially as babies was very rewarding. I admire their playful curiosity and the way they work together and care for each other. Hopefully, I will be able to spend time with elephants again in the future. 

Listen to the Vet Life Reimagined Podcast wherever podcasts are found, or view on YouTube here.

Follow Dr. Sprinkle on LinkedIn here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn here.

Read More

Featured: Innovative Minds in Veterinary Medicine- Alyssa Mages

Med Dimensions sits down for a conversation with Alyssa Mages, Chief Visionary Officer at Empowering Veterinary Teams.

  1. When did you know you wanted to get into veterinary medicine and helping animals? What sparked the interest?

I didn’t think of myself as always wanting to work with animals- but I’ve realized, through similar conversations like this that I in fact, did! Growing up we always had a fish tank, then we added a guinea pig, a turtle, a parakeet, and the house was never without a cat – no dogs, my dad was allergic – and then I fell in love with the ocean. We had a cottage on Cape Cod that we rented yearly and after my 1st whale watch when I was 4, I was hooked. I finished my degree in marine biology and moved to the Florida Keys where I taught marine biology, swam/scuba’d with sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, pilot whales, and a whole host of other marine creatures – HEAVEN! But I soon realized that I wanted to do more FOR them. The original plan was to be a marine veterinarian, but my professional path detoured and pivoted several times. I couldn’t be happier with where I’ve landed.

  1. In addition to being a rockstar vet tech, you’re also a business owner. What’s the best way to describe what EVT does?

You’re too kind! I’ve been a CVT since 2012, but in the veterinary profession since 2004. Over the years I saw & experienced firsthand what it was like to have a structured & supportive training program, and when it wasn’t there, I wasn’t the only one who could feel its lack.

EVT was founded to ensure that every member of the veterinary support team – CSR, assistant, veterinary technician – has the tools, knowledge and guidance to ensure that they not only do what they love, they love what they do. We cannot empower anyone, but we can provide the tools, programs and ultimately the skills for them to empower themselves. We focus primarily on crafting custom training programs for veterinary practices that ensure a standardized, streamlined approach to growth and development so that team members have a clear understanding of what they can do and how they can do it. This not only supports the individuals, but the practice, and ultimately our profession as a whole.

  1. How do you marry the role of vet tech and serial entrepreneur? In other words, how are you making sure that the labs and other educational pieces you provide are helping vet techs?

I don’t see these two roles in opposition- on the contrary, a veterinary technician is inherently an innovative individual. We must be in order to make things work in sometimes less than ideal situations! To ensure that the work I do now, being more on the outside of clinical practice, stays relevant is by keeping involved. Through mentorship, state VMA participation, and continuously seeking the latest and greatest procedures and methodologies, I keep myself and my team up to date and engaged. I also reach out to the other innovators in our field and see what they are up to, how we can help and/or enhance the work that we’re both doing. No more competition, we’ve gotta collaborate to ensure the veterinary industry doesn’t just survive, it thrives.

  1. What do you see as the future of veterinary medicine for vet techs?

I see them AS the future of veterinary medicine. Can anyone really picture a functional and healthy practice, or an evolved industry provider, or an academic institution without these individuals? I cannot, they’re vital & integral to the overall success of the profession. And for them to fulfill this, we must ensure that the longevity of their roles within veterinary medicine continue to evolve, expand, and be inclusive for ALL peoples. Embrace the changes – telemedicine, integrative approaches, and so on – and then be a part of making it happen. 

  1. When you’re giving a presentation to other vet techs, or teaching a lab that you put together, what is the feeling inside of you?

I live for the “A-HA!” moments, and being able to see that happen live is absolutely incredible. I love to learn new things & to be able to take that and pass it forward to someone else is the greatest gift.

  1. How did you get where you are today?

With a lot of love and support from my family and friends, and never giving up. I’m very fortunate to have a partner that is incredibly supportive, children that cheer me on, parents that pushed me from a young age and continue to be my guides, and an amazing group of friends that are always in my corner. The never giving up part doesn’t mean that I haven’t been discouraged or hit some dead-ends – I have and have the bruises to show for it! But I’ve always had this desire to do more, be more, and make a difference in this world and I strive to do that every day.  

  1. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? (if you have any!)

I try hard to make sure I do! I’m a singer/songwriter – sing in a Tom Petty tribute band (lead/backup vocals, flute and percussion) and do some open-mic nights with a buddy of mine, love it. And when the weather cooperates I’m out with my kiddos on a hike, taking the SUP out, and just generally soaking up nature whenever I/we can.

Follow Alyssa Mages on LinkedIn here.

Follow Empowering Veterinary Teams on LinkedIn here.

Visit Empowering Veterinary Teams’ website here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn here.

Read More

Feautured: Innovative Minds in Veterinary Medicine- Johnny Uday

An interview with Dr. Johnny Uday, a leading mind in innovative 3D medicine.

1) When did you know you wanted to get into veterinary medicine and helping animals?

When I was a kid, we took our sick pet to the vet. I was so happy that my little dog was going to get help, and I thought to myself, I want to do this when I grow up too.

2) You’ve worked in both human and veterinary medicine. How does your work translate between these two fields?

As veterinarians, we have to study many different species, from shrimps to rhinos, and humans are just another type of mammal really, so diving deeper into our species is complementary and fascinating at the same time for me.

Having said that, the interaction between veterinary medicine and human medicine is of paramount importance, given that many devices and medical tools are tested on animals before achieving approval for human use.

And when these procedures, techniques, devices etc. are perfected on humans, we can find ways to bring them back to the animal area, where the original product and solution started.

That is why veterinary medicine and human medicine go hand in hand.

3) How does it feel when you see a cutting guide or implant that you designed being used successfully?

It’s a dream come true. I thought it would be so amazing to see something I designed helping to improve lives, and luckily now I have seen that many times, and every single time it makes me smile and feel that I have a purpose in my life.

4) What do you see as the future of veterinary medicine and 3D printing in your home country of Ecuador?

This technology has been a game changer, not just in my country but in the whole world. I’m confident it will become a paramount part of the medical field, and hopefully I will be part of that development with my work.

5) You do a lot of pro-bono work. Who are you helping and what drives you to continue to do this work?

Sadly, Covid hit hard around the world, especially in developing countries like Ecuador. My situation, luckily, is better than a lot of people around here, and I know I can help in many cases- no matter how big or small-, so when I can help, I do. 

Probably it is something related to ego too, when someone is grateful and praises you, however, as long as you are helping someone I believe that is a good thing.

6) How did you get where you are today?

Curiosity and obsession. I mean, I cannot say it felt like “hard” work- because I’m lucky, I really enjoy what I do. It feels more like a pleasure activity than work really.

7) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? (if you have any!)

I’m a fairly decent dancer, (according to me).

I think physical activities are so important in life; I could spend hours and hours in front of a computer, but that is detrimental for your health.

My brain needs proper oxygenation for working at its top level, and dancing provides me that, and also encompasses creativity, fun, and exercise.

Follow Dr. Johnny Uday on LinkedIn here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn here.

Read More

Featured: Innovative Minds In Veterinary Medicine- Will Byron

A Sit Down Interview with Will Byron, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder at Med Dimensions.

1. What has inspired you to help animals?
From before I was even born, my parents had been doing animal rescue which meant I was born in a life full of, and fulfilled by, animals. It ranged from things as small as fish to as large as horses, and dozens of different types in-between. With parents both in the medical field, it meant we got the “broken pets” that people dumped or couldn’t care for medically. Watching these animals being nurtured back to health, and my parents doing the same for people, ingrained a desire to find ways to help those who can’t always help themselves.

2. You mentioned growing up with “broken pets” and watching them be nurtured back to health.What’s it like knowing your work and education has been to help animals?
To be frank, its fulfilling to know that I can still help pets while being involved in really high tech stuff. I always struggled to see how I could blend all my interests and still be in touch with my passion for animals. I thought I would need to go after a job would give me the financial means to do so, but now I get to help pets everyday AND its everything I, as a self proclaimed “enginerd”, love to do and tinker with.

3. When you see a surgical cutting guide that Med Dimensions made being used in a procedure, what is that feeling like?
I can’t really find the right word- beyond flabbergasted! The fact we can help pets through technology that is so new and just coming to light in human medicine, is beyond what I dreamed possible until a few years ago. On top of that, having spent those years hearing the stories, seeing the stress in the OR, and then hearing how these cutting guides really helped or even so far as “making the surgery possible”, leaves me feeling like I’m dreaming.

4. When did you discover your engineering experience would help you create products to assist vets and people’s pets?
A bit of backstory is necessary here; I came into undergrad dead set on making the next generation of prosthetics. I was convinced there was no other way, no other thing I ever wanted to do. I thought that was my new reality after I joined a human focused prosthesis lab working with our Co-Founder and CEO Sean Bellefueille. When that lab closed down, Sean and I decided that was not going to be the end of it, we spent a lot of time figuring out how to make this into a club. Through some of resources from that lab, and people like Jade Meyers from RIT, the club came to fruition and we were connected with some people and a pet or two in need. The details are muddy on how it all happened, but eventually the club was running more projects for pets in need than people. There was no single point in that process where I just knew, but eventually I decided I loved the pets part of the work and I think I could do this forever, because it seemed like pets were really overlooked. A few more years of doing that work, and a local veterinary surgeon reaching out to us for help on a angular limb deformity case then opened my eyes to the fact I could help pets by helping their vets! It really was that case that started a cascade of events that lead me to know I wanted to use my engineering skills to help pets and vets.

5. What motivates you to continue your work at Med Dimensions on a day-to-day basis?
I think the drive largely comes from the life long passion of helping pets, and trying to manifest that as a career, alongside my love for exploring new technologies or new ways to use it. When I take a step back to look at his from a 3rd person perspective, I’m doing something that satisfies a core value, I’m doing something I have loved my whole life and was a huge portion of that life growing up, and I’m getting to do this all in the realm of hobbies and technologies that I love exploring. How could you not feel motivated to get up in the morning, or stay up late in the evening for those of us who claim to be nocturnal, when you hit a trifecta like that? I really can’t envision something more perfect for me to be doing with my life. So the shorter version; because I love what I’m doing to my core.

6.What is your favorite pastime with pets?
Show me a a mountain to hike and a dog by my side, and I couldn’t be happier! Being outside is my escape, and an accompanying pets is the cherry on top. Somewhat ironic for the person saying they love high tech stuff, but there is something about the calm of nature, and the unspoken (quite literally) communications between pet and person that make the chaos of the world, the rings of messages, and the hubbub of life a distant worry for a short time.

Follow Will Byron on LinkedIn here.

Follow Med Dimensions on LinkedIn Here.

Read More

Long Island Spine

A Case Study in Pre-Surgical Planning

One of the largest applications of 3D modeling and design in medicine is pre-surgical planning.

In early December 2021, Dr. Laurence Mermelstein at Long Island Spine Specialists in New York contacted Med Dimensions about a complex spine case.

A new patient presented with severe pain and limited mobility in his low back. He previously had been through two spine procedures and a hip procedure that had not solved his issues. In the second back surgery, the doctors removed old hardware and attempted a spinal fusion, but it failed over time, as the fused levels sheared and shifted the vertebral body both anteriorly and laterally, causing spinal rotation.  Somehow, this patient was still substantially mobile.

Somehow, this patient was still walking into his office!

X-Rays showed the patient’s deformities in two dimensional images- but with multiple deformities collocated, it was impossible to see the full extent of the deformation.

Dr. Mermelstein approached Med Dimensions to turn his two dimensional challenge into a three dimensional solution.

“I was able to plan reduction maneuvers for this patient, as the vertebral body had been shifted and there was an element of rotation. This twisted anatomy was challenging, and the model being accurate helped me plan how to piece it together.”

Dr. Laurence Mermelstein, Long Island Spine Specialists

We were able to take this patient’s images and turn them into an accurate model for Dr. Mermelstein that replicated precisely what he would encounter in the operating room. Collaborating with our partner Vent Creativity, Med Dimensions printed a 3D model that looks, feels, and moves like real bone. The surgeon was able to minimize the unknowns he had prior to the surgery.

With this model, he was able to determine that a posterior surgical approach was ideal, and further that a lateral/anterior approach for operation would potentially be harmful to the patient. (Below are post operative x-rays)

Flash forward to today, this patient is up, moving, and doing well! Pre-operative models for planning and practice are becoming the new standard for patient care, and Med Dimensions is on the forefront of this technology.

Contact us to prepare for your next case!

Read More