Good engineering and good business just may lead to good health in South Jersey in the near future.
That’s because a project that the Rowan University College of Engineering and Rohrer College of Business are teaming on with Cooper University Hospital will bring health care services right to where people live and work.
Under the guidance of Mechanical Engineering Chairman Dr. Eric Constans and professor Dr. Jennifer Kadlowec, four undergraduate students are working to help Cooper docs turn a virtually empty 55-foot trailer into a mobile health clinic.
This spring, members of a mechanical engineering clinic team are designing the mobile medical center, which will include an office, restroom, waiting area and examination rooms in a vehicle that is just eight feet wide.
Collaborating on the initiative are senior Lauren Newbert, 21, Marlton; junior Kyle Pillion, 20, Marlton; senior Alex Redfield, 22, Penns Grove; and junior Chris Whipple, 21, Williamstown.
“Cooper wants us to resurrect the trailer and make it more modern,” Constans said.
The Rowan team will help them do just that. This semester they are using SolidWorks, employing the computer-assisted design software to lay out the lab, from how rooms will be placed right down to where equipment will be stored.
Meanwhile, across campus in the Rohrer College of Business, M.B.A. students have been working in conjunction with Dr. Steven Phelan, William G. Rohrer Professorial Chair in Entrepreneurship, to create a strategic business plan for the health mobile.
Three students in the Managing Organizational Strategy Class — Al-Qumar Atkins, 24, Bridgeton; Alexandra Holmes, 27, West Deptford; and Lisa Schultz, 36, Landisville — have been devoting the semester in part to determining how Cooper can best use its resources to reach its goals with the new facility, determining strategies to bring the concept to market.
The initiative reflects the Rohrer College of Business’ project-based learning philosophy, with students handling multiple real-world projects for clients throughout the region. Their strategic business plan will address product definition; a market overview, including market size, goals and objectives; a target market; an implementation plan and financials.
The work is good for Cooper and for the M.B.A. students.
“Ultimately employees want people who have real-world skills who can hit the ground running,” Phelan said. “Our students learn to apply skills to real-world challenges. This is the best preparation we can give them for their future employment and development.”
“I think it s a really great project because it’s for the community. It’s pretty exciting to be part of it,” said Holmes, who earned a B.S. in entrepreneurships from Rowan University and worked as a product manager for a tour operator Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, Pa.
When the Health Mobile on Wheels is complete, Cooper medical professionals will take the unit to sites throughout South Jersey, possibly as early as this fall. They’ll provide pro-bono services to select publics, offering free health screenings and teaming with municipalities and organizations to provide services at events such as walk-a-thons. They’ll also offer fee-based corporate wellness screenings, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, hearing, vision and pulmonary tests.
Cooper expects the trailer to accommodate multiple patients at a time, some in waiting rooms and some in examination areas.
Pillion said the project benefits students and others. “It’s a real-life engineering project that will serve the community,” he said.
“I think if we succeed with this project it will be the first of many we do with Cooper, especially as Rowan expands into biomedical engineering education,” Constans said.