USC students gain funding for products that support portable medicine storage 

In USC Viterbi School of Engineering course CEE 486, students, who have been tasked with creating engineering solutions to community problems, are repeatedly told, “live a day in the life of the user you’re developing a product for.” For Hannah Lee and her collaborators, that meant hours of extensive research interviewing healthcare providers, physicians, and end-users for their envisioned innovation: portable prescription medicine storage for the unhoused via a soft, flexible pouch that can be worn comfortably on your person.

Interviews and surveys with medical professionals, including with Keck School of Medicine of USC Director of Street Medicine Brett Feldman, pointed repeatedly to a lack of consistency in the healthcare of individuals living transiently.

Said Lee, a human biology major at USC, “When we spoke to Dr. Feldman, he shared that first of all, he can’t find the patients sometimes, but at the same time, they aren’t getting regular treatment because their medication is often stolen.”

Other physicians shared that prescribing certain medications, like insulin, isn’t safe, because of the lack of temperature-controlled storage on the streets.

A member of Los Angeles Community Impact (LACI), USC’s first student-run consulting organization to focus on non-profits and socially-minded organizations, Lee along with neuroscience major Isha Sanghvi enrolled in CEE 486 after other LACI members shared their experiences with it. They began with a team of six, but three members moved on, leaving Lee, Sanghvi, and recent alumna Vivianna Camarillo.