Clemson University, Clemson, SC, has established the first program to train engineers to recycle and reprocess medical devices. Medical device reprocessing was identified as a core component of green technology, so in response, the university’s Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInC) established its Medical Device Recycling and Reprocessing Certificate Program.

Reprocessing is the cleaning and sterilization of single-use medical devices by FDA-regulated, third-party companies. Hospitals can buy them for half the cost of original devices, allowing them to save on supply costs and divert medical waste from landfills.

Clemson researchers realized the need for highly qualified engineers to optimize device designs for reprocessing and to manage medical device reuse. Reprocessing of these devices is predicted to be one of the top 20 fastest-growing industries within the next five years.

“Clemson’s unique certificate program is geared towards engineers who seek to enter the medical device industry in product development or research,” said Melinda Harman, assistant professor in the bioengineering department. “The internship immersion training will prepare them to design medical devices for reprocessing and to develop methods to assure patient safety in compliance with FDA regulations. We are partnering with local health-care facilities and leaders in the reprocessing industry to help meet the demands for this growing field,” she said.

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