SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student has created a way for medical devices to stop collecting dust and make a difference.
“People get prescribed this stuff for a temporary amount of time to help them heal, and then what?” asked Mohan Sudabattula. “Like, where does it go? It ends up sitting around and becoming clutter in houses and people just throw them away, so we decided to do something about it. Here we are.”
The 23-year-old came up with the idea to collect and redistribute still-usable medical equipment while volunteering at a nearby hospital. His dorm is now filled with the equipment.
“I thought back to my entire family in India and the communities there,” Sudabattula said. “There are children and patients who have the exact same need who would do anything for these type of devices.”
After a lot of research, Sudabattula created Project Embrace with a team of other invested students. In less than one year, the community has helped them gather enough items to fill a donated storage space and part of their office.
“Project Embrace is one of the startups with an office at Lassonde Studios,” said Thad Kelling with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. “We only have about 20 of them, so they are a standout team doing impressive things.”
Classmates help them clean the supplies. So far, they’ve taken them to India and Swaziland. Now they’re thinking locally, too.
“Just a couple weeks ago, we partnered with the Moran Eye Center, their global outreach team, and did stuff out in the Navajo Nation,” Sudabattula said.
As Project Embrace awaits its pending for nonprofit status and grant approvals, Sudabattula is making a difference in dorm rooms.
“Despite us all being students, one thing that brings us all together as a team is a passion for this and a passion to help people,” Sudabattula said. “Even if it is just $5 and we eat ramen (noodles) for the next three days, we put the money towards this because we really care about this.”
To learn more about Project Embrace or to donate, visit their website at projectembrace.org.