Press release

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

15 June 2023

PA Consulting (PA), the company bringing ingenuity to life, and the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign are proud to announce that Sumit Bhargava, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Todd Coleman, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering from the Stanford University bioengineering department, won the 2023 Robert Howard Next Step Award for their Pediatric Home Sleep Apnea Testing project.

Sumit and Todd’s team members include:

  • Sabrina Liu, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Syamantak Payra, PhD student, Electrical Engineering
  • Annie Ostojic, undergraduate student, Electrical Engineering
  • Hassler Bueno Garcia, research scientist, Bioengineering
  • Takoua El Bejauoi, research scientist, Bioengineering

The team developed a user-friendly home sleep apnea diagnosis test for children, specifically for parents with limited access to testing facilities. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disease in children, affecting one to three percent of all pre-school and school-aged children, that causes snoring and disturbed sleep. Neglecting treatment can have substantial implications for the growth and development of children, while also contributing to increased healthcare expenses. This project provides a mechanism to diagnose sleep apnea in snoring children, at home, to determine the severity of the sleep disorder for surgical treatment.

2023 Robert Howard Next Step Award winners
Stanford Biodesign’s Robert Howard Next Step Award winners
We are inspired by the exceptional talent and innovative solution presented by this year's winning team. The Pediatric Home Sleep Apnea project team captured the jury's attention with their ambitious goal of developing an inclusive and safe home-based solution for diagnosing sleep apnea in children. Congrats to the winners.”
Innovation expert at PA

PA has been sponsoring the Robert Howard Next Step Award since Spring 2022. The award helps teams of aspiring health technology innovators advance their projects by providing design and engineering consulting services. This includes 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. 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 Andre Yousefi, design and manufacturing expert at PA Consulting, Norio Fujikawa, design expert 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 technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results.

We are over 4,000 strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers, and technologists. And we have deep expertise in consumer and manufacturing, defense and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government and public services, health and life sciences, and transport.

Our teams operate globally from offices across the US, UK, Ireland, Nordics, and Netherlands.

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.

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 9.4 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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