Glen Oomen Illustration

What I'm up to

here's the deal

I have a new website! After almost ten years working and teaching in a major Canadian medical school and two more years abroad for a mid-career refit, this ship's had the barnacles scraped off, a fresh coat of paint applied and some fancy new skills to catch the winds with. It's time to slip the moorings, check the compass and plot a course. This time out I'm going to do the work that I love; the work that I get to do instead of the work I that I have to do. Care to join me for the trip? Check back soon while I add some of my illustration and design work, plus you can snicker as I rant and rave on a soon-to-be-blog.

medical illustration, design and healthcare

I'm an Illustrator, Designer and Educator specializing in health sciences. I love solving problems in this field. There's a great connection between the work we can do and the effect it has on practitioners, patients and, well, people. It could be designing a new system for packaging and delivering anaesthetics, developing models and phantoms for practising surgical procedures, showing the course of a tiny nerve never before shown, or the theoretical microscopic arrangement of crystalline calcium and proteins in bone -  they're all problems I've tackled. Actually, I just love learning. Fortunately for me, you can't solve these problems without doing a fair bit of research and learning a few new things in the process.

So if you have a tricky one on your hands, a "How might we make something that does something to make this thing a better thing", or even a "Why do those people/components/processes keep doing A when we want them to do B" kind of problem, let me take a look. As an artist and scientist, I have a good view of things and I make connections that others often miss. I'm pretty good at this. 

About me

Always good at art but with a degree in Biology, I originally trained as a medical illustrator and animator at the University of Toronto in Biomedical Communications. After three years as a freelance medical illustrator, I landed (kind of by accident) in the Education Program in Anatomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada where I was charged with managing the lab and developing new learning resources. Almost ten years and a little over $2M later we had completely renovated the anatomy facilities. We built a surgical skills lab and overhauled how we teach human anatomy and how students access it. One mark of our success was the day I noticed students studying in the lab. The lab had become so comfortable and easy to be in, though, that they weren't even studying anatomy. They were working on a group project for another health sciences course. Perfect considering just two years before students wouldn't even enter the lab unless they absolutely had to. Meanwhile, I designed and taught both an interprofessional gross anatomy dissection course and an introductory scientific illustration course, wrote and self-published one book on ultrasound anatomy, and designed a completely new lab manual that balanced the requirements of distributed electronic learning - videos and interactive bits - with good old-fashioned paper. For that work I was a co-recipient for the President's Medal for outstanding service. Phewf. And each Halloween we hosted an incredible annual pumpkin carving contest right in the lab. Alas, but my feet began to itch...

 With M.Sc #2 in hand from Ireland's National College of Art & Design, University College Dublin

With M.Sc #2 in hand from Ireland's National College of Art & Design, University College Dublin

With a nice reputation in Anatomy for being a creative and capable problem solver, I started to get visits from local surgeons and specialists, each asking a similar question: "How can I develop this idea I have for a... [insert invention, new system or technique]?". The challenges were fascinating ones, totally doable if we could figure out a few aspects of them. But they were also equally frustrating; I really wanted to solve these problems and help make these new tools, but I knew little about developing new medical devices. So I decided to learn. I took a year of academic leave, moved to Dublin and did a second M.Sc in Medical Device Design at the Irish National College of Art of Design and University College Dublin. It was great! Human factors, design methodology, CAD work, shop-work, biomechanics, biosensing; the art and graphics skills plus all those years in human anatomy now have a perfect new complementary skillset with which to make some new magic happen.

Currently I work for a small Irish medical device (re-)start-up as a Design & Development Engineer. We're developing clever little devices for economically and safely delivering anaesthetic to patients in ICU. I will have filed my first two patents before the end of 2016. I live in Dublin, Ireland and Dundas, Ontario, Canada.

Click here for a recent CV. I also don't mind mentioning that, as of this writing, I'm learning to kiteboard.