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LEAP Convenes Health Care and Manufacturing Leaders to Face COVID-19 Crisis Head-On

MedTech Group Meets to Proactively to Equip Regional and Statewide Medical Ecosystem

LANSING, Mich. – With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising throughout the country, state and now the Lansing region, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) took proactive steps to convene its MedTech advisory group Friday evening, March 20, 2020. The group met with the purpose of organizing regional medical, education, manufacturing and community leaders in order to collectively identify and mobilize local and statewide resources that will help save lives as stress on our local health care system increases each day.

The group is co-chaired by Dr. Norman Beauchamp, executive vice president for Health Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU) and Mike Zamiara, president of Niowave, with representatives from across the regional medical community including both major health care systems, private sector businesses and MSU medical research and development departments.

Beauchamp advocated for Friday’s meeting in anticipation of the near-term community needs related to the COVID-19 crisis “We are identifying our strengths, bringing together our capacity to source critical protective equipment and supplies for our local health ecosystem and create the economic opportunity to do some remarkable work together. In doing so, we can better prepare and respond in the ways we will be inevitably called on to respond,” said Dr. Beauchamp.

Friday’s virtual meeting also included representatives from across specialized manufacturing and municipal leadership, with numerous promising solutions and connections made including potential new uses for existing drugs, sharing of appropriately-licensed facilities and equipment, retooling disrupted manufacturing operations for essential medical products, sewing face masks with local shops and clothing companies, machining and re-engineering ventilators to serve more patients and the rapid training of laid off employees to work in areas of critical need.

“While Niowave is not a medical device manufacturer or a direct health care provider, our facilities are designed for work that must meet specific and very high sterilization standards, and we have the capacity, equipment and workforce needed for custom and precision machining. Now is the time to look across industries for unique strengths, such as what Niowave offers, and leverage those strengths in new ways to solve the issues facing our health care industry,” said Mike Zamiara of Niowave.

While this advisory group has long-term aspirations to connect a growing industry cluster and transform it into one of the nation’s top 20 medical technology ecosystems, in the short term it is serving as a front line defense for our region’s ability to prepare for and weather the COVID-19 storm darkening on the horizon.

“It was a remarkable meeting. Action over the weekend already has been fast and furious. Right now, the hope is the actions of this group will help save lives in the Lansing region, and that it can help guide other communities in preparing for and managing what may be the most catastrophic public health crisis of our time,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “This meeting of the minds was a prime example of our region’s ingenuity in times of crisis. Rapid pivoting and people rethinking and innovating in the moment to meet the changing needs. This is the new Lansing, which we all believe in—even in a rotten situation there are many opportunities.”

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About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all—working every day to grow, retain and attract business.