Students from Cornell and Arusha Technical College on safari at Tarangire National Park.

Cornell-Tanzania Collaboration on Medical Equipment

BME Students working in Tanzania with ATC colleagues
BME undergrads Emma Stowe '20 (middle) and Roanne Yehia '20 (lower right) working on a fetal doppler monitor with Arusha Technical College students and instructors, Gervas Harris, Shaban Khalfan and Asmin Issa in Tanzania.

In a new international exchange program between Cornell University and Arusha Technical College (ATC), six Meinig School undergraduates and professors Chris Schaffer and Nozomi Nishimura visited Tanzania this past summer to establish collaborative senior design capstone projects with ATC students. 

To come up with ideas, Cornell and ATC students visited local hospitals. Health care in Tanzania is far behind U.S. standards and a particular challenge is that much of the medical equipment is broken. The Cornell and ATC students worked together to repair equipment and identify needs for novel devices. The Cornell students were inspired by the chance to be integrated into health care. “Being provided this amazing opportunity and working in Tanzanian hospitals, I was able to witness such impact," said Allison Nestor '20. 

The program was initiated by BME Ph.D. student Menansili Mejooli, who is also on the faculty at ATC. In addition to an educational mission, this program’s goal is to build a bilateral partnership between ATC and Cornell that could lead to novel Tanzanian industries and forward-looking investments in education and human resources. This fall, the ATC students came to Ithaca to attend professor James Antaki’s senior design course with the Cornell students, and to kickoff year-long capstone projects. 

" It was a unique opportunity for students to learn how devices fail in the field. We hope to make this program available every year and will be seeking ways to fund this longterm,” said professor Schaffer.

The program is currently funded by an Engaged Cornell Curriculum Development grant as well as a L’Oréal Changing the Face of STEM Mentorship grant.