Claire Pomeroy Awards celebrate region’s best medical technology

Awardees and Claire Pomeroy © SARTA
The inaugural Claire Pomeroy Awards recognizing regional advances in medical technology were given at the Med Tech Showcase at Sacramento State University. Pictured from left to right are John Mesic (who attended on behalf of Edward Smeloff), Claire Pomeroy, Philip Coelho, Warren Smith and Richard Wertz.

Posted April 7, 2010

Sacramento has long been home to medical technology innovation and on the forefront of medical technology. To recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement within the Sacramento region in the invention of medical devices and medical information technology products, MedStart created the Claire Pomeroy Awards, named in honor of the vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. The inaugural award celebration was held on March 30 as part of the Med Tech Showcase at Sacramento State.

The Claire Pomeroy Awards recognize and celebrate some of the many medical technology successes developed in the past, with one award each for the last three decades.

Claire Pomeroy © UC Regents“Honoring hard work and innovation is a wonderful catalyst for new medical discoveries and a powerful opportunity to develop the future of our community and region.”
— Claire Pomeroy

“Honoring hard work and innovation is a wonderful catalyst for new medical discoveries and a powerful opportunity to develop the future of our community and region,” said Pomeroy, who oversees UC Davis Health System and all of its academic, research and clinical programs. “By recognizing visionary entrepreneurs, we will encourage others to join in the transformation of medical technologies and help advance health care for everyone. I am honored to be part of the Med Tech awards.”

The winners of the inaugural awards were:

  • Philip Coelho for the BioArchive System, a robotic cryogenic system for the Controlled Rate Freezing, LN2 storage and retrieval of cord blood stem cell units. The system leads in its market and was the initial product foundation for local company ThermoGenesis.
  • Edward Smeloff for developing one of the earliest commercial heart valves. The Smeloff-Cutter heart valve has been on the market for more than 40 years with multi-decade effectiveness and durability; royalties from the product helped fund further research at Sutter Health.
  • Warren Smith for developing the Pk factor method of monitoring patients under anesthesia. The Pk factor is widely used to help monitor the consciousness of patients under anaesthesia and is currently in use by monitors sold by Aspect Medical Systems.
  • Richard Wertz for creating the autoscan automated microbiology diagnostic system. This standardized lab plate system helped speed the bacterial culture process and resulted in the large lab/manufacturing facilities in West Sacramento, now owned and operated by Siemens, and the largest biomedical employer in the region.

About MedStart

MedStart — a program of the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) — is a rapidly growing regional economic development collaborative that envisions a thriving medical device and medical technology industry in the Sacramento region and is a catalyst in making that happen. For information on the Claire Pomeroy Awards, Med Tech Showcase or MedStart, visit SARTA's Web site.

The award review committee consisted of Pomeroy; Emir Macari, dean, Sacramento State College of Engineering and Computer Science; Kyriacos Athanasiou, professor, UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering; Ekkehard Blanz, formerly of the Volcano Corporation; Christian Renaudin, The MarkeTech Group; John Mesic, chief medical officer, Sutter Health, Sac Sierra Region; and Cary Adams, Proximal Ventures, SARTA MedStart. The parameters this team sought in making their decisions included:

  • Brilliance or ingenuity in solving problems and designing solutions
  • Impact on the lives of patients
  • Size of the populations and markets affected
  • Impact on the institutions and processes of care delivery
  • Economic impact on the health-care system

“Claire Pomeroy is passionate about the role of UC Davis and the Sacramento region in transforming medicine through technology, and every day she inspires others to strive for excellence in innovation. That’s why this award is named after her, to magnify that passion and inspiration, to touch as many people as possible,” said Cary Adams, chair of MedStart.

Med Tech Showcase photos courtesy of Tia Gemmell