Finding the Fierce: A call for nominations of the top women in med tech

Click here to enter your nominations for Women in Med Tech below.

The medical device industry has been a source of problems for a lot of women. The FDA is in the midst of reviewing at least a trio of device categories that have elicited hundreds of thousands of lawsuits and complaints.

These include pelvic mesh, which is inserted surgically to help keep the pelvic organs in place in the body--prolapse and associated urinary incontinence are common problems among older women. But it has elicited more than 100,000 suits, which is reportedly the largest number of U.S. personal injury litigation in decades.

Also in that group is Bayer's Essure, a sterilization device that is essentially a wire inserted into the fallopian tube to elicit the formation of scar tissue to halt the passage of eggs from the ovaries, and the power morcellator, a device long used to cut the uterus into small pieces to extract it laparoscopically during a hysterectomy but it's also been associated with the spread of cancer when it is already present but undiagnosed in the uterus.

While women sometimes function as casualties of the industry--they rarely are called upon to lead it. It's tough to find stats, but more broadly for Fortune 500 healthcare companies women make up only 21% of executives with only 5 serving as COO or President. Only one woman was a CEO of a Fortune 500 healthcare company--all this, according to a recent report from digital health venture firm Rock Health.

Even more alarmingly, the report found that women made up only 6% of digital health CEOs at companies funded during the last four years. It also found that women are only 10% of the venture partners at firms who are responsible for decision-making. Of the 148 VC firms investing in digital health, more than half of them, or 75, were found to have no women partners at all, Rock Health noted.

One of the most helpful factors in developing women leaders is having successful mentors--who are also women. A testament to the need for female mentors is the sold-out med tech conference, Women in Health, that's slated for next month. It's more elaborate this year than last and has been around since 2011.

Last year, FierceMedicalDevices debuted its list of top women in med tech. This year we'd like to make it even better. Please let us know who the most important women are in med tech, including medical devices and diagnostics. The deadline for nominations is September 30. Share with us the women who inspire you to do more and better--and who have the power and influence to help med tech continue evolving. -- Stacy Lawrence (email | Twitter)

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