The face of innovation

Real innovation starts with individuals who can think creatively about solving problems. The Center for Medical and Engineering Innovation (CMEI) recognizes students as an important driving force of our initiatives because of the immense time and effort they give to invest themselves in projects. Knowing that students require training, CMEI facilitates development of students into innovators by providing guidance from faculty mentors as well as access to practical settings in which they can apply knowledge to actual clinical problems. 

We support our mission in higher education through the establishment and implementation of several unique programs, including cross-college courses for undergraduate and graduate students as well as opportunities for people at varying levels of training to serve as consultants for groups outside of their discipline.

Getting intel from the source

The CMEI seminar series brings inspiring guest speakers to campus to discuss topics interweaving medicine and engineering. Our goal is to bring students, faculty and staff from multiple Ohio State colleges together to open a dialogue in which they can consider issues in science and healthcare from different perspectives. We offer to help underwrite these events in collaboration with Ohio State colleges, departments, centers and institutes to expand the realm of topics that can be discussed. The possibilities are limitless.

CMEI has, for example, hosted veterinary and medical students as they learned about the future of 3D printing in medicine. The event was held at the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, where students received a tour, lecture and even had some opportunity for hands-on experience.

All events are on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In and beyond the classroom

Our student-focused education efforts are centered on connecting learners to the engineering-patient care axis by expanding their scholarly experience beyond the confines of a lecture hall. Beginning with the Spring Semester, 2021, CMEI has organized a new course in the Biomedical Engineering curriculum: BE4194 –Bioengineering Clinical Preceptorships. The first component of the course consists of lectures provided by clinicians / clinician-scientist faculty whose work intersects with bioengineering. Topics include Medical Informatics, Neurology, Physiatry and Rehabilitation Medicine, Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Cardiology, Otorhinolaryngology, and Medical Imaging, all of which are involved in “bench to bedside” integration of engineering solutions into clinical practice.

Students are also provided opportunities to visit clinical facilities across the Ohio State campus to see how engineering knowledge is applied in to patient care and practitioner training. A trip to our medical simulation center demonstrates to students firsthand that resources such as a programmable resuscitation simulator are only possible with the integration of engineering capabilities with medical need. Our courses even offer students hands-on opportunities to work as consultants aiming to solve real problems in healthcare delivery. Students first learn about clinical problems that have engineering-based solutions, and they then utilize their engineering skills to provide those solutions as they work directly with clinician preceptors. For example, students could work on creating a tracking system to monitor patient movements or design a new component for the da Vinci Surgical System. Placing students into clinical environments enables them to appreciate clinical applications of engineering principles in ways that can only achieved outside the traditional classroom walls.

Creating pathways

Another unique CMEI opportunity involves embedding individuals in cross-cutting environments to facilitate interactions between people having expertise in different disciplines but having common goals in improving healthcare.

CMEI works to recruit, train and place engineering students and postdoctoral researchers into clinical settings to engage with clinicians, as well as to place medical and nursing students, residents and clinical fellows into engineering environments to engage with engineers. These efforts promote and enrich scholarly interactions across the domains of medicine and engineering as well as have the potential to advance collaboration, drive innovation, increase research activity, lead to intellectual property and foster career development.

In the future, CMEI also plans to engage faculty, staff and industrial partners in similar activities. We know that professionals from different disciplines speak very different scientific and medical languages, however, enabling their direct interactions can result in advances in patient care that may not otherwise be achieved. Tremendous advances in medicine and healthcare addressing complex problems are expected to result from interactions between physicians, engineers and industry partners, CMEI is dedicated to facilitating these important interactions.

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