Veterinary Teaching Innovation Wins Prize at Big Bang! Business Competition

Rehman_Big Bang
Melyssa Rehman, of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, stands with an equine model. Rehman is co-founder of Equine Teaching Innovations, a tool used to teach basic injection skills. The team won the Animal Health Award in the Big Bang! Business Competition this year. (Angela Lindley/UC Davis)

Veterinary Teaching Innovation Wins Prize at Big Bang! Business Competition

Team members from the veterinary school community took home the $12,500 Animal Health Award from the 24th annual Big Bang! Business Competition on Tuesday, May 21. Their collaboration, known as Equine Teaching Innovations, created a silicone injection pad that enables student animal health professionals to learn basic injection skills in a life-like way without injecting a live animal.

All team members are based at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and include co-founder Melyssa Rehman, clinical skills laboratory manager; co-founder Lais Costa, DVM; marketing officer Nicole Gonzales; and development officer Amanda Ayers.

Their innovation eliminates a need for high cost, full-size silicone animal models. Beginners can start by learning basic needle and syringe handling using the injection pad alone. Advanced students can apply restraint and handling concepts by mounting the injection pad to a live animal for a more realistic simulation. The relatively low product cost enables a broader range of students to have access, including those in undergraduate programs, high schools and veterinary technician institutions.

The UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition is organized by the UC Davis Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and has been helping entrepreneurs start or grow business ventures for more than two decades through the competition, workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities. The Big Bang! is open to teams with a founder or team lead affiliated with a college or university in California. The prizes are funded by corporate, nonprofit and various other sponsors.

The annual awards ceremony on Tuesday night celebrated the contestants and announced the winners of $100,000 in cash awards and residencies valued at $8,000 for innovations in animal health, education and educational tools, energy/sustainability, food and agriculture, human health and social entrepreneurship.

Twenty-two finalist teams pitched their ventures before five judges in an eight-hour marathon judging session. Judges considered the teams’ integrated strategy, steps toward implementation and market opportunity to determine prize winners.

More information and a list of other winners is available in the full story.

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