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Engaging undergraduates to solve global health challenges: a new approach based on bioengineering design.

Oden M, Mirabal Y, Epstein M, Richards-Kortum R - Ann Biomed Eng (2010)

Bottom Line: Since 2006, 333 students have designed more than 40 technologies and educational programs; 28 have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and the United States.More than 18,000 people have benefited from these designs. 95% of alumni who completed an international internship reported that participation in the program changed or strengthened their career plans to include a focus on global health medicine, research, and/or policy.Empowering students to use bioengineering design to address real problems is an effective way to teach the new generation of leaders needed to solve global health challenges.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.

ABSTRACT
Recent reports have highlighted the need for educational programs to prepare students for careers developing and disseminating new interventions that improve global public health. Because of its multi-disciplinary, design-centered nature, the field of Biomedical Engineering can play an important role in meeting this challenge. This article describes a new program at Rice University to give undergraduate students from all disciplines a broad background in bioengineering and global health and provides an initial assessment of program impact. Working in partnership with health care providers in developing countries, students in the Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) initiative learn about health challenges of the poor and put this knowledge to work immediately, using the engineering design process as a framework to formulate solutions to complex global health challenges. Beginning with a freshman design project and continuing through a capstone senior design course, the BTB curriculum uses challenges provided by partners in the developing world to teach students to integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines, and to develop leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. Exceptional students implement their designs under the guidance of clinicians through summer international internships. Since 2006, 333 students have designed more than 40 technologies and educational programs; 28 have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and the United States. More than 18,000 people have benefited from these designs. 95% of alumni who completed an international internship reported that participation in the program changed or strengthened their career plans to include a focus on global health medicine, research, and/or policy. Empowering students to use bioengineering design to address real problems is an effective way to teach the new generation of leaders needed to solve global health challenges.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Prototype battery powered IV drip monitor
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Fig3: Prototype battery powered IV drip monitor

Mentions: Hospitals in developing countries struggle to provide care because they are often understaffed and lack modern equipment. Pediatricians working in these hospitals identified the danger of providing intravenous therapy to dehydrated children in such settings as a significant challenge. Intravenous delivery of fluid can be a lifesaving therapy for severe dehydration, but without a safe and effective electronic monitoring system or adequate nursing care, pediatric patients risk fluid overload, which can lead to death. In response to this challenge, a team of bioengineering and electrical engineering students designed a low-cost, battery-powered device to monitor and control the rate and volume of fluid delivered, and to shut down and alert hospital staff when pediatric patients have received sufficient fluid. The device was designed to use minimal power, clip directly onto the existing IV drip chamber, and control and monitor flow rate, time, and volume as set by a clinician. It is able to deliver flow rates of up to 100 mL/h at an accuracy of ±1%. The design criteria and solution were both critically evaluated by several physicians in the developing world to ensure that the final device met their needs. A prototype device has been laboratory tested for accuracy and reliability (Fig. 3), and is undergoing revision prior to initial field testing in clinics in sub-Saharan Africa.FIGURE 3


Engaging undergraduates to solve global health challenges: a new approach based on bioengineering design.

Oden M, Mirabal Y, Epstein M, Richards-Kortum R - Ann Biomed Eng (2010)

Prototype battery powered IV drip monitor
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914280&req=5

Fig3: Prototype battery powered IV drip monitor
Mentions: Hospitals in developing countries struggle to provide care because they are often understaffed and lack modern equipment. Pediatricians working in these hospitals identified the danger of providing intravenous therapy to dehydrated children in such settings as a significant challenge. Intravenous delivery of fluid can be a lifesaving therapy for severe dehydration, but without a safe and effective electronic monitoring system or adequate nursing care, pediatric patients risk fluid overload, which can lead to death. In response to this challenge, a team of bioengineering and electrical engineering students designed a low-cost, battery-powered device to monitor and control the rate and volume of fluid delivered, and to shut down and alert hospital staff when pediatric patients have received sufficient fluid. The device was designed to use minimal power, clip directly onto the existing IV drip chamber, and control and monitor flow rate, time, and volume as set by a clinician. It is able to deliver flow rates of up to 100 mL/h at an accuracy of ±1%. The design criteria and solution were both critically evaluated by several physicians in the developing world to ensure that the final device met their needs. A prototype device has been laboratory tested for accuracy and reliability (Fig. 3), and is undergoing revision prior to initial field testing in clinics in sub-Saharan Africa.FIGURE 3

Bottom Line: Since 2006, 333 students have designed more than 40 technologies and educational programs; 28 have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and the United States.More than 18,000 people have benefited from these designs. 95% of alumni who completed an international internship reported that participation in the program changed or strengthened their career plans to include a focus on global health medicine, research, and/or policy.Empowering students to use bioengineering design to address real problems is an effective way to teach the new generation of leaders needed to solve global health challenges.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.

ABSTRACT
Recent reports have highlighted the need for educational programs to prepare students for careers developing and disseminating new interventions that improve global public health. Because of its multi-disciplinary, design-centered nature, the field of Biomedical Engineering can play an important role in meeting this challenge. This article describes a new program at Rice University to give undergraduate students from all disciplines a broad background in bioengineering and global health and provides an initial assessment of program impact. Working in partnership with health care providers in developing countries, students in the Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) initiative learn about health challenges of the poor and put this knowledge to work immediately, using the engineering design process as a framework to formulate solutions to complex global health challenges. Beginning with a freshman design project and continuing through a capstone senior design course, the BTB curriculum uses challenges provided by partners in the developing world to teach students to integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines, and to develop leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. Exceptional students implement their designs under the guidance of clinicians through summer international internships. Since 2006, 333 students have designed more than 40 technologies and educational programs; 28 have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, southeast Asia, and the United States. More than 18,000 people have benefited from these designs. 95% of alumni who completed an international internship reported that participation in the program changed or strengthened their career plans to include a focus on global health medicine, research, and/or policy. Empowering students to use bioengineering design to address real problems is an effective way to teach the new generation of leaders needed to solve global health challenges.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus