The Story Behind the CerviScope


The goal of ImaGyn is to equip clinicians in the developing world with an affordable and effective technology in the fight against cervical cancer.

To achieve this goal, ImaGyn has partnered with Family Health Ministries (FHM) to develop the cerviScope. The cerviScope is a portable colposcope that can be used for timely screening and prevention of cervical cancer. With this product, ImaGyn and FHM hope to contribute to the prevention of over 260,000 deaths a year worldwide due to cervical cancer.


cerviscope imageThe cerviScope is a portable colposcope which has been designed for use in low-resource settings based on requirements taken from gynecologists in the US and in the developing world. Its rugged and portable form, combined with a rechargeable power source, will enable practitioners to take the device into the field, and perform the examination in remote areas. With optics offering magnification of up to 8X, the prime design consideration for the cerviScope has been to improve the standard of care for women in the poorest countries in the world.


Doctor Foster ThumbnailThe cerviScope is a diagnostic medical device that supports the cervical cancer detection procedure called colposcopy. This examination involves visual inspection of the cervix with magnification to identify precancerous lesions. Acetic acid is applied to the cervix to highlight the lesions which become white. White and green light are used to illuminate the area and provide enhanced visual contrast.

If precancerous tissue is identified, the clinician can remove the tissue by one of several procedures, including cryosurgery (freeze), diathermy (heat), laser removal or LEEP (radio).

The colposcopy examination can be completed in a matter of minutes, which differentiates it from other cervical cancer screening techniques which require additional laboratory evaluation. The availability of same-day-treatment is essential in the developing world, where patients do not and cannot consistently return to the clinic for follow-up.


Doctor Walmer ThumbnailDr. David Walmer, Chief of Reproductive Endocrinology at Duke University Medical Center and Founder and Chairman of Family Health Ministries (FHM), invented the portable colposcope ten years ago during his research in Haiti. He has since collaborated with students and faculty at Duke University in the development of this device.

Through the support of Engineering World Health, Theo Tam and his team, ImaGyn, selected and entered the portable colposcope technology into the CUREs Business Plan Competition in 2006-2007. ImaGyn partnered with Dr. Walmer and FHM to continue development on the device and throughout the year garnered tremendous support from the larger academic and business community as well. With this support, ImaGyn was able to engineer a functional prototype called the cerviScope and develop a business model called ImaGynet to enable the sales and distribution of the medical devices to places in need.

The CUREs Business Plan Competition awarded ImaGyn the top prize of $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources with one year of incubation at Duke University in 2007. ImaGyn is now in the process of launching as a non-profit company.

Team ImaGyn, Theo Tam, Wynn Wu, Adnan Haider, Gaurav Singh and Ram Balasubramanian, would like to offer our deepest appreciation to the many individuals who have generously shared their time and efforts with us. Thank you. Your insights have served to shape our thinking as the leaders of tomorrow and your guidance has enabled us to begin making the world a better place today.

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Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.