Our team is passionate about transforming the lives of people who struggle with the current post-surgical drain options. After witnessing the experience of people who live with JP drains, we felt compelled to create a solution that has the potential to profoundly help people. With years of clinical interviews and engineering research, we decided to start SOMAVAC® Medical because we wanted to help patients now.  

Esra Roan, PhD


Esra is the co-founder of SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions. Prior to her role with SOMAVAC®, she was an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis. Esra's more than 15 years of experience in product development and biomedical research gives her the tools to enhance the lives of patients with products that make a difference. Her education is in Mechanical Engineering (TTU and U of Cincinnati). LinkedIN, GoogleScholar.

Please contact Esra at Esra.Roan@somavac.com with any questions or comments.

Josh Herwig


Josh is a serial tinkerer with professional experience in machine design, electronics, and manufacturing. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and is a graduate of the University of Memphis/UTHSC joint Master’s program in Biomedical Engineering. LinkedIn

You can reach Josh at Josh.Herwig@somavac.com.

Phil Ryan

VP of Operations

Profile Picture Original.jpg

Phil is an experienced executive with a demonstrated track record of electromechanical medical device development and manufacturing operations in small-to-large companies. He is a graduate of Auburn University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and received an MS in Engineering Management from CBU. LinkedIN

You can reach Phil at Phil.Ryan@somavac.com.

Joelle Goan

VP of Commercialization

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Joelle received her B.S in Nursing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and worked in critical care for several years before making a move to the industry side of patient care. She brings over 20 years of experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.  She has had national and global positions in sales and marketing both in the US and Canada. LinkedIn

You can reach Joelle at Joelle.Goan@somavac.com.


James Tatum

Quality Engineer

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James brings varied experience from research, clinical documentation, and quality control environments. He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Memphis/UTHSC joint Master’s Program. James functions as SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions’ Quality Engineer and works to maintain quality in every step of the manufacturing process. LinkedIn

You can reach James at James.Tatum@somavac.com.


Heather Doty, PhD

Clinical Affairs

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Heather joined SOMAVAC® in Fall 2018 bringing her extensive background in pharma and medtech industries. Prior to SOMAVAC®, she worked for other early stage medical device companies in Memphis, TN in engineering and research support roles.  Heather holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the U of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. from the University of Memphis/UTHSC Joint Program in Biomedical Engineering. LinkedIn

You can reach Heather at Heather.Doty@somavac.com.


We find a way.

A skeptic questions ideas when he or she believes there is a better way; a critic believes no good is possible. We are skeptics who can solve big problems because we believe everything is up for questioning.


We believe in helping others.

This is why we exist - plain and simple. We know that what we do every day is ultimately building solutions to help people. The world is a kinder and better place when we live with each other in mind.


We're always learning.

There is so much to learn. We believe in accepting what we do not know and continuing to learn every day. We expect our team members to remain curious and keep learning!


We express gratitude.

Everyone who works with us chose to do so. We depend on our SOMAVAC team and virtual team. We believe in the expression of gratitude among our team members and external partners.

SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions Welcomes Joelle Goan as Program Manager as it Moves Closer to the Commercialization of the SOMAVAC® Sustained Vacuum System

Memphis, TN (February 5, 2019) – SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions, Inc., a med tech company creating solutions to improve post-op care, announced today the appointment of Joelle Goan as Program Manager to aide in product development and commercial launch of its flagship device SOMAVAC® Sustained Vacuum Device. Goan’s knowledge and experience in product management and selling and marketing solution-based products into hospitals and OR suites will be a commanding asset to SOMAVAC as it continues to grow and advance its technology toward commercialization.

The SOMAVAC® Sustained Vacuum System is a low-profile, user friendly, wearable medical device that applies sustained vacuum to a surgical site following large-flap forming surgeries to remove fluid effectively and may reduce the risk of seroma. It is designed to replace the legacy technology of using manual suction bulbs attached to surgical drains, which has seen little innovation or advancements since the bulbs’ conception in 1970’s.  READ MORE

Joelle Goan

Program Manager

Joelle Goan (photo by Studio Norwood)

Joelle Goan (photo by Studio Norwood)


SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions Appoints Product Marketing Manager Pro David Oliver as it Prepares for the Launch of Flagship Medical Device


David Oliver

Upstream Product Marketing Manager

Memphis, TN (September 12, 2018) – SOMAVAC® Medical Solutions, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of David Oliver as Upstream Product Marketing Manager. Oliver’s knowledge of marketing, product development and launch planning will be a commanding asset to SOMAVAC as the company takes the SOMAVAC® 100 Sustained Vacuum System to market.

The SOMAVAC® 100 is a low-profile, user friendly, wearable medical device that applies sustained vacuum to a closed wound following surgery to remove fluid effectively and reduce the risk of seroma. It is designed to replace the legacy technology of using suction bulbs with surgical drains, which has seen little innovation or advancements since the bulbs’ conception in 1970’s.


Photo Credit: Studio Norwood Photography.

Photo Credit: Studio Norwood Photography.

"Some post-surgical wounds, including following abdominal surgeries and mastectomies, may require suction drainage to prevent post operative complications due to edema and fluid collections. Suction bulbs have been common for the past few decades, since they don’t require external power and are very simple in design. New technologies can significantly improve this, as batteries have become more powerful, pumps more efficient, and electronics ever smaller. "

Read more at Medgadget.



Phil Bredesen visits Memphis Bioworks

Former Governor Phil Bredesen visited Memphis Bioworks Foundation today to get input on what may be necessary to grow innovative ideas into companies. We were glad to participate and even had a chance to discuss how our device works. 

Read more at Commercial Appeal.

Photo:brandon dill for commercialappeal.com

Photo:brandon dill for commercialappeal.com

Photo: Brandon dill for commercialappeal.com

Photo: Brandon dill for commercialappeal.com


Photo by Houston cofield

Photo by Houston cofield

It is very exciting to be included in an article focusing on wearable medical devices. Please take a moment to read.

Medical Technology Marks Brave New World In Treatment Of Serious Illnesses by Michael Waddel

"Innovative medical technologies being developed in Memphis promise to revolutionize health care in the coming years. ..." READ MORE.


Herwig Engineers With a Sense of Responsibility

We are so honored that Memphis Daily News highlighted Josh Herwig (CTO) and the reasons why he is so motivated to create a solution for those who experience post-surgical drains. Please take a moment to read the full story... LINK.

Josh Herwig (Photo Ziggy mack)

Josh Herwig (Photo Ziggy mack)

April 24th, 2017  - We've been featured in MBJ

Memphis medical device company gets $725K in seed funding

A Memphis medical device company has raised $725,000 of seed funding almost one year after the company's founding.

SOMAVAC Medical Solutions, which designs post-surgical solutions for at-home recovery, raised the funding from two Memphis-based lead investors, Innova Memphis Inc. and MB Venture Partners, and a group of undisclosed individual investors. SOMAVAC was incorporated April 28, 2016. Read more.


Conversation With: Esra Roan. Memphis Business Journal, March 10, 2017

Esra was featured in the Memphis Business Journal as a part of their focus on Memphis's medical device and biotechnology Industry. Click here for the full story. 

"Esra Roan moved to Memphis in 2007 as a faculty member in the Engineering College at the University of Memphis. She has a diverse background in mechanical engineering, including research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a product development engineering role with 3M Precision Optics in Cincinnati. Roan recently co-founded and serves as the CEO of SOMAVAC Medical Solutions Inc., a company that designs and commercializes medical technologies for post-surgical recovery at home. ... "


SOMAVAC Medical attended and pitched in the Seed Track at the New England Venture Summit 2016 on December 7th in Boston, MA. We made many new connections and received extensive feedback on our company and product. Than you Young Startup Ventures for putting this even together.


Josh is continuing on with Delta Regional Entrepreneurship Program. He had a very productive weekend at the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Little Rock, AK. We truly appreciate this opportunity! Read more at HuffPost

Memphis startups tapped for regional networks

SOMAVAC Medical was chosen by the Delta Regional Authority as one of the winners of their third annual Delta Challenge. Memphis Business Journal, September 29, 2016

"The winners will receive intensive technical assistance trainings, including development support for their business plans and detailed feedback on their product pitches, as well as the opportunity to pitch at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on March 11, 2017." Read more ... 


100 days of SOMAVAC Medical finished with Demo Day. It was an amazing opportunity that allowed us to grow. Thank you Memphis, StartCo, Zero to 510, and everyone who helped in big and small ways.

 Start Co. entrepreneurs ready for next steps, Demo Day - Memphis Business Journal, Aug 4, 2016

"Esra Roan, co-founder of SOMAVAC, which is working on a simplified system of wearable post-surgical fluid drains, said the feedback the company got from patients and doctors has been positive."

You can read the full article at Memphis Business Journal.  Requires subscription.


July 28, 2016 Great evening conversation with #LPCHAT at Cowork 

Dr. Roan attended an evening as a panelist that the Lapel Project in Memphis sponsored. The theme of the evening was Women Inventors.