Mercer Alumnus Wins $10,000 Prize from International Committee of the Red Cross for Prosthetic Foot Design

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BANGALORE, India – Mercer University alumnus Gary Wall recently traveled to Bangalore, India, where he and teammate Rochelle Dumm won the $10,000 third-place prize in the inaugural International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Enable Makeathon.

The ICRC and its partners invited people with disabilities, designers, engineers, humanitarians and entrepreneurs to join forces for the competition in an effort to develop affordable assistive devices for persons with disabilities living in rural areas. A total of 150 teams entered the makeathon.

The entry by the RightFit Prosthetics Initiative, which is the name of Wall's team, included a prosthetic foot design that he created after graduating from Mercer. In addition to winning the third-place prize, ICRC and Mobility India, a rehabilitation research and training center, expressed interest in launching a small field study using the design at the ICRC's prosthetic facilities.

A 2014 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts majoring in global health, Wall participated in four trips to Vietnam through the Mercer On Mission (MOM) prosthetics program led by biomedical engineering professor Dr. Ha Vo. He was also co-founder and president of the Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club, and in 2014, he was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative University for his and the club's commitment to prosthetic care in Vietnam and Haiti.

“A defining component of Mercer's mission is to empower students to fully develop their unique gifts and talents in the application of service to others,” said Dr. Keith Howard, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Gary has taken the best of his experience with Mercer On Mission and the Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club and demonstrated the capacity for leadership and success through a desire to serve. We are so very proud of his achievement.”

“We congratulate Gary for his success in the Enable Makeathon event,” added Dr. Wade H. Shaw, dean of the School of Engineering and Kaolin Professor of Engineering. “His commitment to service has continued from his days as a student at Mercer where he supported our research and development of prosthetic legs. His skills continue to serve others in unexpected ways.”

While at Mercer, Wall received the Griffin B. Bell Award for Community Service and was named Outstanding Senior in Global Health Studies.

“This project would not have been possible if not for my experience with Mercer On Mission Vietnam, the guidance of incredibly talented and hardworking Dr. Ha Vo, and the support of all the student-related prosthetic outreach activities during my time at Mercer from Dr. Craig McMahan and President William D. Underwood,” said Wall. “Without a doubt, MOM Vietnam changed my entire perception of the world, convinced me to major in global health studies, and set me on the path to a successful career in orthotics and prosthetics. I hope to give back to Mercer by volunteering my time to the MOM program after the completion of my graduate degree.”

Wall currently serves as a certified pedorthist and certified orthotic fitter at Boland Prosthetic and Orthotic Center in Warner Robins while also pursuing his Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Georgia Tech. Dumm graduated with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and is also pursuing her MSPO at Georgia Tech.

Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide with 14,500 employees in more than 80 countries, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. For more information on the Enable Makeathon, visit www.enablemakeathon.org.

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​