Press release

PA Consulting congratulates the winners of Stanford Biodesign’s Robert Howard Next Step Award

13 June 2022

PA Consulting (PA), the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, and the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign are proud to announce that The Wall Lab team from the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine has been named the winner of the Robert Howard Next Step Award.

The Wall Lab (Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine) members include:

  • Dennis Wall - Principal Investigator
  • Arman Husic - Mobile Application Developer
  • Stefan Doychev - Mobile Application Developer
  • Kaiti Dunlap - Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Jack Kent - Full Stack Developer
  • Maya McNealis - Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

The Wall Lab team designed a mobile application to help children with autism develop social skills necessary for them to thrive. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects at least 214 million children worldwide, including 1 million children at or under the age of ten in the United States. Despite the growing prevalence of autism, families suffer from a widely documented diagnostic bottleneck when searching for care due to limited access, as well as burdensome financial costs that disproportionately affect under-resourced autistic children.

John Edson, US Head of Design and Engineering at PA Consulting, said: “We are in awe of the talent and innovation that all of this year’s health tech teams showcased. The Robert Howard Next Step Award winners – from the Wall Lab at Stanford – won over the jury with their aim to create an accessible-for-all solution to help bridge the social skills gap for children with autism. We look forward to working alongside the Wall Lab team and continuing our sponsorship of this game-changing ingenuity program.”

PA began its sponsorship of the Robert Howard Next Step Award in Spring 2022. The award helps teams of aspiring health technology innovators advance their projects by providing design and engineering consulting services, including a design process or regulatory advising session with the PA Consulting team and a focused two-week “design sprint” to assist with branding, product design, engineering or other development capabilities and advance the awardees’ health technology concept to the next level. Awards are open to any student, fellow, post-doc, visiting student researcher, or faculty member currently enrolled in a Stanford Biodesign course or program.

This year’s judges were John Edson, US Head of Design and Engineering at PA Consulting, Melanie Turieo, Head of Health and Life Sciences Product Development at PA, Jim Morgan, Innovation Expert at PA; and from Stanford Biodesign, Rajiv Doshi, Director, India Program, Christopher Shen, Executive Director, Asia Programs, Gordon Saul, Executive Director, Linda Lucian, Translation Project Manager, and Michelle de Haaff, Co-instructor, Biodesign for Digital Health.

About PA.

We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future. As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity.  Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results. An innovation and transformation consultancy, we are over 4000 specialists in consumer and manufacturing, defense and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government and public services, health and life sciences, and transport. Our people are strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers and technologists.  We operate globally from offices across the UK, US, Netherlands and Nordics. Discover more at and connect with PA on LinkedIn and Twitter. PA. Bringing Ingenuity to Life.

About Robert Howard

Robert Howard (1962-2011) served as Vice President of Engineering at LUNAR for 15 years. He was a Stanford Alumnus (MSME ‘86) and served as a lecturer in the Department of Product Design. Robert loved helping people, teaching, tinkering, making the impossible possible, designing healthcare products, and being involved in the Stanford community - in particular the Biodesign program. In 2011, Stanford Biodesign and LUNAR established this memorial award in Robert’s name, and this year PA Consulting has taken over its sponsorship.

About Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign

Co-founded in 2001 at Stanford University by Paul Yock, MD and Josh Makower, MD, Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign is committed to advancing health outcomes and equity through innovation education, translation and policy. We believe that diversity across multiple dimensions inspires creativity and helps us innovate for all patient populations. To date, more than 7.6 million people have been helped by technologies invented at Stanford Biodesign, and the Biodesign innovation process has been widely adopted by universities and training programs around the world. For more information about Stanford Biodesign, please visit

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