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A patient is rushed into the emergency room suffering from multiple injuries. Doctors must work quickly, making split-second decisions. Before facing this scenario in real life, doctors-in-training at The University of Arizona College of Medicine practice life-saving skills in the new high-tech Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center. To reduce errors, medical simulation technology offers opportunities for health care providers to perform all types of medical and surgical procedures without risk to patients.

ASTEC exhibits 3D printing lab at STEAMworks Showcase
April 2016

ASTEC displayed its use of 3D printing technologies for creating medical simulation training modules and artificial tissue models at the annual STEAMworks Showcase. STEAMworks is a one day event hosted by the University of Arizona that showcases Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math in action. High school students and UA undergraduates get hands-on experience with real-world science applications. ASTEC demonstrated ways in which 3D printing technologies can be used in innovative ways to create medical training devices that allow trainees to practice medical procedures in a risk-free environment. Students were invited to learn to suture using a suturing pad made from artifical tissue and a custom-made chassis. The goal of the showcase is to inspire students through the exploration of diverse STEAM applications and to stimulate interest in science careers.

Photo credit: Wilbur Wildcat  

ASTEC collaborates with CHOP to train Cardiothoracic Surgeons
March 2016

The University of Arizona (UA) is collaborating with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to develop an in situ simulation curriculum for management of pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. Banner University Medical Center (BUMC) has recently hired a number of new congenital heart experts and has recruited ASTEC to build a training program. With expert advice from CHOP, we have completed the framework of the curriculum and are currently in the process of developing assessment instruments to evaluate the progress of trainees over time. This UA-BUMC collaboration is part of an effort to promote simulation training in the clinical environment to enhance the integration of academic with clinical medicine. 

ASTEC marks 10th Anniversary of IP CPR with Remote Simulation Training
March 2016

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the interprofessional CPR (IP CPR) training exercise involving students from the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing. Given the increasing role of telemedicine in healthcare, we designated 4 training sessions this year to introduce our students to remote learning technologies. The training session was captured live and streamed to a facilitator at a remote location. The facilitator was able to debrief with the students via video after the sessions and provide useful feedback. This was a proof of concept exercise to demonstrate that we can harness telemedicine technologies to provide remote facilitation for simulation training exercises, an ability that is closely aligned with our efforts to further expand our outreach program.

ASTEC opens 3D Printing Laboratory
March 2016

With financial support from the University of Arizona IT Student Advisory Board, ASTEC has opened a designated space in the College of Medicine for a 3D printing laboratory equipped with a LulzBot TAZ 5 printer. The lab was opened as an effort to promote collaborative work between the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine. Along with our fully-equipped artificial tissue lab, the addition of the 3D printing lab now allows us to streamline our design process from computer-aided design of new training models to 3D printing of tissue molds to soft-tissue applications. In its first 3 months of operation, undergraduate engineering students have worked with medical students, residents and ASTEC staff to create a collection of new training models that are now being regularly used in our lab. These include:

- Heart model for ultrasound-guided pericardiocentesis

- Umbilical venous catheter model

- Pediatric chest tube chassis 

- Microsurgery tool kit for practicing microsurgical techniques

- Suturing jig that accomodizes our customized bleeding suturing pad

Current efforts involve the design of a printer with capabilities of printing soft tissues.

ASTEC trains Air Evac Medical Transport Nurses and Paramedics
February 2016

ASTEC continues its commitment to training Southern Arizona’s Air Evac flight nurses and flight paramedics in quarterly full-day simulation sessions. These trainings are comprised of 2-3 competency-based clinical scenarios and several procedures that include chest tube insertion, intubation and cricothyrotomy. They make use of the full complement of task trainers and high-fidelity computerized mannequins available in the ASTEC lab and provide an example of ASTEC flexibility in creating a variety of healthcare environments. We are proud to serve our pre-hospital care providers and thereby to provide a link between the pre-hospital and the in-patient care setting.