Lenora Henry, a BS/MS student majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Biomechanics and Human Performance, recently completed her final co-op with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Hear first hand how co-op allowed her to explore and pursue translational research interests with doctors and practitioners across CHOP. Interested in our clinical immersion co-op? Learn more about this unique opportunity here.
BS/MS Student in Biomedical Engineering with a Concentration in Biomechanics and Human Performance
Advisors: Dr. Ken Barbee, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; and Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
My interest in the clinical immersion program arose from a desire to understand what was lacking in the devices currently used in a clinical environment. My previous co-op experiences had been in medical technology and engineering companies. I wanted to see how effective medical devices are when used by those who do not have technical or engineer experience.
My co-op experience was at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I worked with Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, who primarily works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), but also works with the engineers and researchers in the hospital on various projects. I began my co-op experience shadowing the different hospital personnel in the unit, and asking them questions about the different procedures and devices they used for patient treatment and care. At the end of each day Dr. Nadkarni asked for 3 ideas to be emailed to him that could range from an improvement that we saw that could be made on a medical device to research into how a certain treatment could be improved upon. Based on these ideas he would direct us to different research articles that could be useful to further stimulate our ideas, or to another doctor or researcher in the hospital that was working on something similar to what we were interested in. Through these connections, I was able to view the operations in the other hospital units such as the Progressive Care Unit (PCU), surgical unit, and Physical Therapy.
Through this process of creating and building upon ideas, I became interested in wound healing. As a result, Dr. Barbee directed me to Dr. Michael Weingarten, who was working with Dr. Peter A. Lewin's lab on an ultrasound wound healing device. In Dr. Weingarten's clinic I was able to see the device used during patient treatment, and how it compared to the conventional form of treatment, debridement. I was very interested in how the two forms of treatment though drastically different, were able to expedite the healing process therefore after meeting with Dr. Lewin I decided to pursue further improvement of the device as my project.
What impressed the most about my clinical immersion experience was how readily the different doctors and researchers were to hear out my opinions, even though I did not have the understanding of the different medical terminology and treatments that they did. They were open to a new perspective on how to improve different procedures or devices, and usually it was the simplest solution that made them realize how different their everyday tasks could be.
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