Did you know that children require medical treatments and technologies different from their adult counterparts? Medical challenges unique to the pediatric population extend beyond the patient's smaller physical footprint.
Due to the complexities of gender, age, developmental stage, and medical history, medical devices and therapeutics designed for adults can not be easily retro-fit for children or adolescents. Lifesaving medical devices and therapies need the capacity to adapt and evolve with a single pediatric patient to achieve the best possible health outcomes.
The growing and exciting field of pediatric engineering applies biomedical engineering and design principles to address these unique needs of pediatric patients, anticipating the dynamic development from neonatal to young adulthood stages.
Why is Pediatric Engineering Important?
Innovation in medical technology and therapeutic strategies for children lags behind those for adults. Thus, there is a compelling and recognized need for the development of new treatment strategies, including devices and therapeutic procedures, specifically for the unique needs of pediatric patients.
With today's improved scientific understanding and advanced technologies, it is possible to address the numerous unmet pediatric needs saving lives and improving health outcomes for children.
Drexel Biomed's Impact in Pediatric Engineering
Drexel University has entered into a new alliance to expand its academic and research partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Through the initiative, eligible non-clinical research scientists at CHOP will be offered non-tenured research track appointments as CHOP-based Drexel research faculty.
“This new strategic collaboration represents a unique career opportunity for our organizations’ researchers,” said Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia President and CEO Madeline Bell. “We look forward to realizing the impact of our shared efforts.”
Additionally, as part of a regional initiative and commitment, the Philadelphia Regional Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) brings engineers and biomedical researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania together to address the shortage of medical devices designed for pediatric patients. As one of only seven pediatric device consortia nationwide that were funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Philadelphia-based consortium provides clinical, business, and regulatory expertise, as well as seed funding, to provide support in order to translate innovative ideas into the commercial realm for therapeutic use in pediatric patients.
Showcase: Pediatric Engineering In Action
Pediatric Artificial Heart / Cardiovascular Engineering
Two to three thousand children are born each year with significant malformations of their heart chambers, and there are very few if any therapeutic options available for them except a heart transplant. Dr. Amy Throckmorton is investigating a new type of mechanical circulatory support — essentially a blood pump — for these children.
Pediatric Biomechanics / Crash Injury Prevention
Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the leading cause of death for children ages four years and older, with more than 5000 deaths per year for ages 21 years and younger. Specifically, traumatic head, spine and chest injuries are the most common serious injuries sustained by children in MVC. In collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Virginia, we performed the world’s first low-speed frontal, lateral and oblique impact experiments on pediatric human volunteers to study head and spine kinematics.
Graduate Programs in Pediatric Engineering
An option for graduate students (MS or PhD) at Drexel University who are seeking degrees within the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.
An option for graduate students (MS or PhD) at Drexel University who are seeking degrees from academic units outside the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (i.e. Nursing, Psychology, Entrepreneurship, etc.).
The goal of the new graduate programs in Pediatric Engineering is to train the next-generation of students for future scientific and technical careers in pediatric engineering, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and innovation that will have a lasting impact on global health in key areas such as:
- pediatric injury,
- cardiovascular diseases,
- infectious diseases,
- cerebral palsy,
- musculoskeletal diseases,
- neurological illness and defects, anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities,
- minimally invasive surgery,
- medical devices for pediatric usage, and more.