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Global health pioneer honored with recent alumni award

The award, among the highest accolades given by the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board, honors an alumnus/a who has contributed substantially to their field and has either graduated from the college within the last ten years or is no more than 35 years old.| Short Read

For her innovative newborn care solutions that combine engineering and nursing, Kelley Maynard Elahi has received Michigan Engineering’s 2019 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

Maynard Elahi earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 2009 and master of science in biomedical engineering in 2011, both from the University of Michigan. She earned an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing from Duke University in 2018.

The award, among the highest accolades given by the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board, honors an alumnus/a who has contributed substantially to their field and has either graduated from the college within the last ten years or is no more than 35 years old.

In only eight years, Maynard Elahi has established herself as an accomplished leader in global health. As a design engineer in Vietnam, she developed a continuous positive air pressure device and a phototherapy device for newborn care. She helped set up 11 neonatal wards with the equipment in Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and India.

At the Rice 360 Institute in Houston, she led a team of engineers developing multiple global health technologies and represented the institute at the World Health Organization in Switzerland. 

Witnessing dire circumstances in hospitals inspired her to combine nursing training with her engineering background to provide more comprehensive care and bridge the two fields.

Presently, she is a registered nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“Kelley worked hard at finding all types of global opportunities around the university and after she graduated,” said Aileen Huang-Saad, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at U-M. “If what she was looking for didn’t exist, she created it. She has always been a pioneer.”

The Michigan Engineering Alumni Board (MEAB) serves the college and its 80,000 alumni by offering knowledge, hands-on service, network connections, passion and resources in the pursuit of the College of Engineering’s vision and mission. 

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