by Mariah Schaefer – Daily Illini
When the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine opens its doors to students in approximately three years, a new technological facility will help prepare medical professionals for a future in a technology-driven field.
The creation of the Jump Simulation Center, which was announced in late June, was made possible by a $10 million gift from University alumnus Bill DiSomma, who owns Jump Trading, a Chicago-based trading firm.
DiSomma also helped create the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria, which has a partnership with the University of Illinois.
“The DiSomma Foundation was instrumental in forming the big simulation center in Peoria, and so they gave us this new, big, generous grant to start our own simulation center for the new College of Medicine here,” said Kesh Kesavadas, director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center, who will co-direct the Urbana center with the Peoria center’s chief medical officer, John Vozenilek.
The Peoria center focuses on research in simulation and education, while the Urbana center will focus on teaching medical students through simulation.
The Jump Simulation Center will be located in the basement of Everitt Laboratory, and it will be completed by the time the first students of the College of Medicine arrive on campus in 2018. The center is now under architectural design.
“When we learned that we are going to have a new engineering-based College of Medicine, we realized very early on that having a world-class simulation facility here will be very beneficial for our college, be very beneficial for the engineering-based education that we are going to give our future physicians and doctors,” Kesavadas said.
He said the purpose of using simulation is to train medical professionals without having to use human beings all the time.
There will be several simulation technologies available to students at the center: standardized patients, mannequin-based simulators, and virtual reality simulators.
“In a simulation facility, the basic idea is that you have clinical environment that you set up; you set up like a mock ICU or a mock OR or a mock patient interaction room, and you use the simulation environment to train the students that will be future physicians,” said Rashid Bashir, head of the Department of Bioengineering.
Bashir was involved in developing the original partnership with the Jump Center in Peoria.
“Our goal is to bring in some of those engineering innovations and the research that is taking place, to bring them in to an educational environment in the simulation center to be able to expose the MDs of tomorrow, because we believe many of these technologies will be used in clinical practices in the future,” Bashir said.
Kesavadas said that the equipment available to students at the Jump Simulation Center will help prepare them to adapt to new technologies in the field.
“Students often have to learn how to use all these new modern devices, which come in the market,” Kesavadas said. “It’s very hard to train students and professionals using these devices in a hospital environment with patients, so we think that our simulation center will focus on developing new technologies so that we can test devices, and at the same time, use it for training.”
Kesavadas said that the Jump Simulation Center will not just be available to College of Medicine students. Students in the College of Engineering will also be able to use the center because it will be located in the new Department of Bioengineering building.
He said the fact that the center will be located in the engineering campus is very unique, noting that many engineering students in other universities do not have access to a simulation center because the simulation center is located in the heart of a medical campus.
“We can see that engineering students can also contribute to building the next level of simulators, can contribute in terms of working with medical students to come up with new ideas,” Kesavadas said. “We think that all this collaboration fosters much better simulator environments of the future.”
With such an emphasis on technology, the human side of medicine suffers the risk of being put aside. However, Bashir assures that that will not be the case with the College of Medicine.
He said that the curriculum will have many thematic areas, and doctor-patient interaction will be one of them.
“The idea is to make available the latest and greatest technologies to the physicians but still not lose on the patient-doctor interactions,” Bashir said. “Our goal is to use this technology to enhance the quality of the experience, not diminish it.
“At the end of the day, I think our broad goal that we want to accomplish is to provide quality health care to more people at lower costs,” he said.
Bashir said that those trained at the center will not be controlled by technology. He said that the physicians will still be the decision-makers, not the technology.
He emphasized that the College of Medicine is a partnership between Carle and the University of Illinois. He said Carle has a partnership with Parkland College to help train health care professionals and support staff.
Although the Peoria and Urbana centers have different purposes, they will coordinate. The Jump Simulation Center will train medical students and will be able to incorporate the research being done at the Jump Trading Simulation and Educational Center.
“In a way, we have a very comprehensive set of partnerships that all have their unique pieces, and they come together very well,” Bashir said.