Hometown: Portland, Oregon
School: Jesuit High School, Portland, Oregon
Project: Sanjeevani: A Novel Automated System for Hospital-Acquired Infection Prevention
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 1.7 million people contract hospital-acquired infections every year. Samyak Shirmali’s mother was one of them. She survived; but according to the CDC in its 2015 survey, approximately 72,000 people in acute care hospitals in the U.S. did not. Stunned to learn this, Samyak began researching the cause of these infections and a possible solution. Poor hand hygiene by hospital staff is a leading cause, he discovered. With mentoring from a 3M corporate scientist (and his nominator), Dr. Mahfuza Ali, Samyak developed a complex, fully automated, real-time software program that alerts staff when proper hygiene is not followed. The prototype earned the young entrepreneur the title of one of America’s Top 10 Young Scientists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
According to Samyak, “The main skill I learned was to have empathy and compassion towards the millions of people who suffer from these infections every day. I developed the motivation to help eliminate this problem and do something for my society and the rest of the world.”
Samyak says his POCA grant will help him finish his prototype by incorporating industrial-grade sensors into his product and adding industrial packaging for its commercialization.