Written by Svetlana Dotsenko
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Published Researcher. Healthcare Consultant. Volunteer. Inventor. Boston University Engineer. Superman?? No. Just KC Walley. How does he do all of it, you ask? His advice: start early.
He knows what he’s talking about – back in 2009, he became the youngest research assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School investigating cancer research. His lab examining the contributing molecular factors toward metastatic prostate cancer. KC not only enjoyed working in the lab, but also managed to publish a paper in the prestigious Cancer Research journal (another one coming soon!)
Driven by his passion for healthcare improvement and system engineering, KC also tried himself as a healthcare consultant and landed a position as Systems Redesign Analyst for VA Boston Healthcare Systems. It turned out that VA’s system of managing workflow, pharmaceutical re-order process, device inventory, and data collection tools were quite outdated, primarily relying on paper format, with little computerization in between. KC stepped in, having redesigned and computerized the majority of these systems, having led to patient care improvements and elevating performance of the systems, and particularly focusing on orthopedic processes within VA.
His experience with orthopedics at VA and volunteer work at Children’s Hospital Boston in an Orthopedic Recovery Unit led KC to begin work in an orthopedic surgery research lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, studying biomechanics of normal and pathologic cancellous and cortical bone. KC’s team will be investigating Glenohumeral Joint kinematics and contact pressures during simulated pitching with cadaveric samples – a study sponsored by the MLB. The glenohumoral joint, which has the greatest range of motion in the body, and is unfortunately highly susceptible for injuries. Many athletes do not restore full functionality of their shoulders using current methods of rehabilitation; KC’s research will focus on simulating muscle loading during specific activities, with the goal to simulate upper body motion with representative muscle loading throughout the entire motion trajectory. This project will develop into his Senior Design Project for the College of Engineering.
Last but not least, KC is also an inventor, and just filed the provisional patent for his device called SafetySip, a device that can help patients having difficulty swallowing. He is already in conversation with local design firms, investors, as well as potential business partners. KC’s knowledge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System (where he worked as a consultant) will help him push the device to early adopters promptly after the prototype is completed.