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Health Journalism 2012: Field Trips

Health Journalism 2012

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Advance sign-up is required.

  • Buses will load at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday at the side entrance of the hotel opposite the AHCJ registration desk.
  • Lunch will be provided during each tour, with opportunities to talk informally with researchers and other health professionals.
  • Buses are scheduled to be back at the hotel in time for the 4:30 p.m. Newcomers Welcome and the 5:30 p.m. Opening Session.

Field trip 1

NOTE: There are no more spots available for this field trip. If you sign up for it, you will be placed on a waiting list.

Experience virtual reality therapyVirtual reality therapy

Since 2006, Emory researchers have been engaged in a study to test Virtual Reality Therapy as a treatment for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Find out how this type of exposure therapy has been successful in treating PTSD, learn how it grew out of years of developing virtual reality therapies for other phobias, and immerse yourself in the process by viewing the images the software creates. Each attendee will have the opportunity to put on the virtual reality helmet and see the simulation from a patient’s perspective.

Biosafety training in a laboratory

High-containment laboratories (BSL3 and BSL4) house some of the world's most dangerous disease-causing agents and pathogens, including Ebola, smallpox, anthrax, avian influenza, and extremely resistant tuberculosis. In partnership with the Southeastern Regional Center for Excellence in Biodefense (SERCEB), staff at Emory University direct and facilitate high-containment laboratory training in a mock BSL3/BSL4 laboratory. Since 2004, more than 2,000 researchers from around the world have attended to learn practices aimed at minimizing their risk of infection. Take a hands-on tour of the training facility, don a BSL4 suit, assemble personal protective equipment used in BSL3, and get a real-world feeling for working with infectious substances, responding to laboratory accidents and handling unexpected situations.

Procuring islets for transplant

Since 2003, Emory transplant surgeons have been conducting clinical trials using islets procured from donor pancreata and transplanted into patients with type 1 diabetes. Some patients have been able to forego insulin entirely, while others have cut their dose significantly. Visit the facility where islets are procured from human and animal pancreata for clinical transplant and research, and processed. Hear from transplant surgeons who are refining the procedure and others who are developing less toxic immunosuppressant drugs to allow more successful islet and organ transplants.

Meet the researchers

During your lunch break, mingle with some of the institute and department leaders focused on research, education and clinical service on the Emory campus.

CDC VISIT

CDC′s Arlen Specter Headquarters BuildingBecause both field trip buses will visit the CDC, and because of the limited capacity for visitors in some of the CDC labs, attendees will be divided into smaller groups and thus will likely only tour some of the labs listed below.

CDC Emergency Operations Center

Visit the state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center dedicated in 2003 to serve as CDC's command center for monitoring and coordinating emergency response to public health threats in the United States and abroad. Staffed around-the-clock, the EOC serves as CDC's central point of contact for reporting public health threats, and supports the HHS secretary's operations center. Since 2001, the EOC has responded to more than 40 public health threats, including hurricanes, food borne disease outbreaks, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the Haiti Cholera outbreak. Since December, CDC’s EOC has been activated as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – a public-private effort to eradicate polio in the last four countries where it’s endemic.

Foodborne Lab

PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC, was developed after the 1993 E. coli O157 outbreak from hamburgers made 726 people sick and killed four children. Watch real-time “fingerprinting” of foodborne bacteria. This standardized molecular subtyping allows agencies to track illnesses back to a common source.

BSL 4 Lab Compound

The Viral Special Pathogens lab at CDC is involved in activities that address more than 35 highly infectious viruses across five different viral families, many of which cause hemorrhagic fevers and other deadly diseases. Some of these viruses are rare, whereas others are quite common and cause frequently debilitating or fatal disease in many thousands of people. Tour CDC’s BSL4 compound, one of a handful in the United States, and hear from scientists who have responded to outbreaks of Ebola, Marburg and Monkeypox.

Pathology Lab

CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Lab conducts lab studies and investigations of infectious disease of unknown cause. The lab also works to identify new or previously unrecognized pathogens. The lab uses multiple tools to evaluate tissues from patients with confirmed or suspected infectious diseases, and provides epidemiologic support for investigations from which tissue samples might be obtained for evaluation. Tour the lab where SARS was identified and look in the cabinets at decades worth of tissue samples from patients with almost every imaginable disease, as well as some cold cases.


Field trip 2

NOTE: There are no more spots available for this field trip. If you sign up for it, you will be placed on a waiting list.

Observe pediatric heart procedures

Along with being well-regarded, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center is one of the highest volume pediatric heart centers in the country. During your visit, groups will be assigned to one of the country’s leading cardiologists for a unique catheter lab experience. Observe a heart biopsy procedure performed on a child to check for transplant rejection, or see how an electrophysiology study measures the electrical activity in a child’s heart. Cardiologists will explain each step of these procedures to you and answer your questions

NICUGo on NICU rounds

The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) provide comprehensive care for the high-risk newborn in a specialized environment with 77 NICU beds and is ranked as one of the top programs in the country. During your visit, groups will experience rounds with one of the nation's leading critical care physicians to several current pediatric intensive care patients while learning more about a variety of topics including specific diagnosis, level of care and special clinical considerations.  You also will have the opportunity to discuss and view an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. Children’s is one of a few pediatric ECMO centers in the Southeast.

Be a DJ in The Voice

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation opened its first broadcast media center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  At The Voice, children can learn about the exciting world of radio and TV broadcasting during their hospital stays. After your two clinical experiences, take part in a live broadcast from The Voice. We will be conducting a live show that is interactive, fun and most of all – therapeutic for the kids that are patients.

Learn about life after cancer

During your lunch break, learn about SurvivorLink and the Childhood Cancer Survivor program, aimed at helping physicians, clinical staff and patient families focus on ensuring quality of life for children who have survived cancer. Drs. Ann Mertens and Lillian Meacham, of the Aflac Cancer Center and the Emory University School of Medicine, will make a short presentation and take questions.

CDC VISIT

Because both field trip buses will visit the CDC, and because of the limited capacity for visitors in some of the CDC labs, attendees will be divided into smaller groups and thus will likely only tour some of the labs listed below.CDC′s Arlen Specter Headquarters Building

CDC Emergency Operations Center

Visit the state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center dedicated in 2003 to serve as CDC's command center for monitoring and coordinating emergency response to public health threats in the United States and abroad. Staffed around-the-clock, the EOC serves as CDC's central point of contact for reporting public health threats, and supports the HHS secretary's operations center. Since 2001, the EOC has responded to more than 40 public health threats, including hurricanes, food borne disease outbreaks, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the Haiti Cholera outbreak. Since December, CDC’s EOC has been activated as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – a public-private effort to eradicate polio in the last four countries where it’s endemic.

Foodborne Lab

PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC, was developed after the 1993 E. coli O157 outbreak from hamburgers made 726 people sick and killed four children. Watch real-time “fingerprinting” of foodborne bacteria. This standardized molecular subtyping allows agencies to track illnesses back to a common source.

BSL 4 Lab Compound

The Viral Special Pathogens lab at CDC is involved in activities that address more than 35 highly infectious viruses across five different viral families, many of which cause hemorrhagic fevers and other deadly diseases. Some of these viruses are rare, whereas others are quite common and cause frequently debilitating or fatal disease in many thousands of people. Tour CDC’s BSL4 compound, one of a handful in the United States, and hear from scientists who have responded to outbreaks of Ebola, Marburg and Monkeypox.

Pathology Lab

CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Lab conducts lab studies and investigations of infectious disease of unknown cause. The lab also works to identify new or previously unrecognized pathogens. The lab uses multiple tools to evaluate tissues from patients with confirmed or suspected infectious diseases, and provides epidemiologic support for investigations from which tissue samples might be obtained for evaluation. Tour the lab where SARS was identified and look in the cabinets at decades worth of tissue samples from patients with almost every imaginable disease, as well as some cold cases.