Bringing Biomedical Engineering to NYC Students

Posted with thanks to Todd Joseph and Taylor Jordan for sharing the EWH NYC Chapter's adventures with us!

Since EWH’s first professional Chapter formed in New York City, they have been “crushin’ it” (in the words of their President, Todd Joseph). Todd and his fellow Chapter members have used the funds they’ve raised to support STEM education in New York City schools.

On Saturday, November 7, the NYC Chapter sent three members to The Children’s Aid Society Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem. Every Saturday, the community center runs a “study now, play later” initiative to promote good study habits. Once a month, Duke Alums Engage coordinates a special educational activity to expose the children to new topics and excite them about learning. This month EWH got to be part of this!

Dunlevy Milbank Center

My Cambodia Volunteer Teaching Trip

Written by Dr. Ram Ramabhadran, who joined BMET Cambodia as a guest teacher from June 6- June 30, 2015.

As in the past two years, I was offered an opportunity by Engineering World Health to teach biomedical engineering as part of their BMET Training program. Some of you may recall that I was a volunteer lecturer with EWH in Honduras in 2013 and Rwanda in 2014, making this trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia my third on EWH’s behalf.

IMG 0003

This trip differed from my previous two trips not much in terms of the mission, but in the trainees’ backgrounds and the language of instruction. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, I trained working biomedical technicians and their instructors, and in Kigali, Rwanda the goal was to “train the trainers”, about 12 members of the electrical engineering faculty. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I trained the first batch of biomedical technicians whose academic backgrounds, training, and facility with English varied widely, which made presenting advanced instrumentation ideas a special challenge. As previously in Honduras, where my lectures were simultaneously translated to Spanish (and unlike Rwanda where I could lecture in English), the lectures in Cambodia were translated into Khmer, the language of Cambodia. I was assisted by a young translator, who spoke English well, and a senior student working on his master’s degree in nuclear medicine who had a good command of technical English; he often took over and explained difficult technicalities in Khmer.

BMET Nigeria: Hands-On Learning… From a Distance!

Written by Communications Intern Russ Walker

After starting their final session with two weeks of cardiology equipment training, our BMET students in Nigeria were all set to start their lessons on medical laboratories and the equipment they use. Ruthann Robinson, a Medical Laboratory Technologist with Electronics Engineering training and experience, was scheduled to teach this session. Ruthann has significant clinical experience  laboratory diagnostics, management, education, and training in the developing world. Currently, Ruthann works in practice management and change management in British Columbia, Canada, in addition to supporting  international development projects.

There was just one problem: the teacher couldn’t get to Nigeria! The visa requirements for Canadians are different than the requirements for our local US team: these international complications prevented Ruthann from obtaining a visa in time for her to be able to get to Nigeria to teach this interactive learning session. Together, Ruthann and Nigeria's BMET Coordinator Dr. Carmen Walker were able to find a creative solution: the students would get to handle and study the equipment while Ruthann monitored and answered questions via Skype. Students said, “It seems like she’s really here,” while they took quizzes and held class discussions.

Skype Class on Lab Equipment 2015

BMET Cambodia: Learning to Teach

Written by Communications Intern Russ Walker

In the past month, while our BMET students are working in their home hospitals gaining hands-on experience, two of the trainee teachers from our BMET Cambodia program have had the opportunity to begin conducting mentoring trips on their own. This new responsibility represents a significant step in their transition to the role of BMET Trainers. The two teachers, Hor Sophanna and Von Phearom, are working with BMET students across all three of our current cohorts, but are focusing on students from cohorts 2 and 3, whom they have been teaching in class. They’ve had to improve their skills rapidly as they are the senior technicians on their mentoring trips, especially in the areas of troubleshooting and repair, documentation and planning, and professional communication as they meet with hospital directors and management. According to BMET Cambodia Coordinator, Steve Goeby, Sophanna and Phearom are doing exceptionally well facing this new challenge, and their confidence in their ability to handle the many challenges of the work is growing every week. As the pictures show, their students are engaged in many important projects, led by teachers they believe in and trust.

Y1 Y3 students perform electrical safety tests           Y1 Y3 students repairing patient monitor

VCU EWH Chapter members win 3rd place at JHU Hackathon

Thanks to Brittany Allen, VCU BME Senior & SI Alum, for her contributions to this blog.

During the first weekend in October, Johns Hopkins University hosted MedHacks 2015. JHU brought together “technologists, scientists, healthcare professionals, and engineers to build amazing things together.” Their goal was to unite to develop their solutions to healthcare problems across the globe.

Out of the nearly 30 groups participating in JHU’s MedHacks, VCU’s EWH group won 3rd place! Jacob Jaminet, Sindora Baddam, and Brittany Allen comprised this group, along with an MD who joined the Chapter group. Brittany Allen writes, “We pitched an idea for allowing low-resource hospitals to request donations of particular medical devices via an automated text-messaging service.” You can see the website they developed here:

Tiffany Wong, another VCU EWH student and a Summer Institute Alumna, was in a group with JHU students and they received the Healthcare Alliance challenge award, which was awarded to a group that solved challenges related to identification and aid of medically vulnerable U.S. populations by incorporating digital connectivity into their solution.

copy Sindora Baddam Amar Gopinath Brittany Allen Jacob Jaminet at MedHacks 2015

Sindora Baddam, Amar Gopinath, Brittany Allen, & Jacob Jaminet at MedHacks 2015

Bringing #Biomedical Engineering to NYC Students - New blog from our awesome Professional Chapter in NYC