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Health Journalism 2008: Field Trips

Also on Thursday ...

A special workshop on mapping health is an alternative to Thursday's field trips.

You can sign up for one of our daylong field trips on Thursday, March 27.

Both buses will start loading at 8 a.m. and will leave the hotel by 8:20 a.m. Both buses will have different itineraries in the morning and converge on the National Institutes of Health campus about the same time mid-day. Lunch (covered by AHCJ) will be available when you reach NIH, which should be in the 12:30-1 p.m. range. Both buses are scheduled to be back at the hotel by 4:30 p.m.

Bus 1 Bus 2
Bullet Georgetown University Hospital
Bullet Georgetown University Medical Center
Bullet NIH Clinical Center
Bullet National Library of Medicine
Bullet HHS – Emergency operations center
Bullet Family Health and Birth Center/ Developing Families Center
Bullet NIH Clinical Center
Bullet National Library of Medicine

Bus 1

Georgetown University Hospital

This field trip is full.

CyberKnifeMarianne Worley/
Georgetown University Hospital

CyberKnife’s robot uses a crossfire technique to deliver as many as 1,400 highly pinpointed and concentrated beams of radiation, at virtually any angle, to a cancer tumor.

CyberKnife

Physicians experienced with CyberKnife say it has “revolutionized” the way they treat cancer. In the six years Georgetown University Hospital has been using it, specialists in radiation medicine, physics and oncology have worked with the technology to pioneer new methods of tumor tracking so it can be used to target tumors as well as benign lesions virtually anywhere in the body. CyberKnife’s robot uses a crossfire technique to deliver as many as 1,400 highly pinpointed and concentrated beams of radiation, at virtually any angle, to the patient’s tumor. Through this delivery, it largely avoids dose to normal tissue and so is less likely to harm nearby healthy tissues or organs. GUH was one of the first centers in the world to use CyberKnife and is now one of the first in the world to have two machines. Come witness a patient receiving a treatment. Hear from the experts about how it works and how it offers a painless, bloodless treatment to patients who have been told they are out of options.

New surgical techniques in diabetic limb salvage (live surgical case)

About 21 million Americans have diabetes and some 284,000 die of it each year. Tens of thousands of others suffer with complications from diabetes including skin sores that won’t heal, infections and amputations and the numbers are growing as the number of obese Americans grows. Many physicians believe these cases are putting an ever-increasing strain on the medical system. Using bioengineered skin cells grown from human (neonates) foreskin (called Apligraf) to stimulate healing in wounds that will not heal, surgeons are offering patients a new and highly effective option. The surgeon will show two other techniques used in wound healing in the same 20-minute case. Dr. John Steinberg says this type of skin graft is the most effective tool now for diabetic ulcers. One child's foreskin can grow anywhere from two to nine football fields worth of grafts.

Georgetown University Medical Center

Drug Discovery Lab

Milton Brown, a medicinal chemist known as "Dr. Drug Discovery," will take visitors on a tour of GUMC's Drug Discovery program, where proteins and compounds identified in basic science labs are transformed into drugs that can be tested in animal models and then translated into human trials. Brown and his team are looking for "tiny clogs" that can bring the biological apparatus of a disorder such as cancer, epilepsy or leukemia to a halt, and working to develop them into compounds. The program differs from most academic institutions by taking a page out of the biotech playbook: Chemists are able to identify novel/new targets that can inhibit a protein mechanism from occurring, then develop and test them in animal models, getting them ready to translate into human trials. The program currently has 53 projects in the works and has filed four provisional patents since starting just over a year ago. Reporters will see how this drug discovery process takes place and will see some of the compounds using 3D modeling (complete with 3D glasses!).

FMRI Lab

Neuroscientist and researcher Josef Rauschecker will lead guests through a demonstration of how GUMC's functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machine works using his latest research. His team is testing how to measure the ability of blind people to essentially "replace" their vision through touch and hearing. Their research has shown that the brain's visual cortex can take auditory and tactile input it has received and process it as a vision, or picture. For example, a blind person may be holding a camera. A digital processor will transform visual signals and descriptions into audio, so that the brain creates a "picture" for the person – say, what the camera looks like – so that he or she could push the "on" button. The brain processes the audio signal once as a sound, then a second time in the visual cortex as an image, in order for the blind person to "see." Dr. Rauschecker will demonstrate, with one of the people enrolled in his trial, how the fMRI machine works, for a demonstration of cutting-edge neuroscience research as well as how this technology works in action.

The National Institutes of Health

NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting medical research. Research is conducted on its own campuses and approximately 83 percent of its budget goes to support research in all 50 states, the territories, and around the world in more than 90 countries. NIH has developed many tools such as state-by-state funding data to help you see the research conducted in your state, region, nationally or internationally. The headquarters campus is on more than 300 acres in Bethesda, Maryland – and this is where it all begins.

NIH Clinical Center

The trip will include a tour of the Clinical Center, the nation’s largest hospital devoted entirely to medical research. Within 870,000 square feet are 242 hospital beds and laboratory space. You will get a demonstration of the "bench-to-bedside" approach to medicine – that is, the transference of scientific laboratory research into applications that benefit patient health and medical care. While at the Clinical Center, you also will be able to ask questions of the director of the National Institute on Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, tour the new metabolic research clinic and learn more about approaches to fighting childhood obesity.

National Library of Medicine

Also included on the tour will be a visit to the National Library of Medicine – the world’s largest medical library with more than 9 million items covering all areas of biomedicine and health care. The highlight of the visit will be a demonstration of Medline and PubMed and other research tools that the library has to offer. Some 900 million searches of Medline are done each year by health professionals, scientists, librarians, and the public. Medline staff will provide you help on making the best use of this vast resource.

Bus 2

This field trip is full.

Health and Human Services: Emergency operations center

The Secretary's Command Center serves as a central point of communication and coordination for the HHS secretary and the department in responding to disasters, emergencies, and ongoing health threats such as the avian influenza. The Command Center combines various forms of communications, including terrestrial as well as satellite communications, and a number of back-up and redundant systems. Using computers, satellite videoconferencing, telephones and other forms of communication, HHS officials can now communicate with command centers in the field as well as at CDC, NIH, FDA and other federal partners such as FEMA, the FBI and the CIA - allowing all involved to share information in real time. Mapping technology is used in the Command Center to accurately gauge the potential or actual effects of both natural occurring and man-made public health crises. High-resolution imagery, detailed information on infrastructure and an advanced approach to modeling populations are coupled to create a single and powerful information tool. The 10-screen video wall creates a virtual image 7 feet high and 24 feet wide. Any image on any computer, television or camera connected to the Command Center can be displayed on the video wall. Up to 12 different images can be displayed on the screen.

Family Health and Birth Center/ Developing Families Center

The Freestanding Birth Center concept was established in 1975 by nurse-midwives to provide the warmth of personalized nurse-midwifery care along with the availability of obstetrical care when needed. The Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC) represents the first time a birthing center has been combined with other family support services, child care and preventive health services for children. The DC Birth Center addresses the problem of infant mortality in Washington's underserved communities by encouraging women to take part in their own prenatal care. Women learn about good nutrition and proper care for themselves during pregnancy. The program also teaches women how to care for their babies once they are born. After 5½ years of operation, FHBC outcome data show substantial lowering of preterm birth, low birth weight and Cesarean section rates.

Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center of the NIH.

National Institutes of Health

The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center of the National Institutes of Health center houses inpatient units, day hospitals and research labs.

The National Institutes of Health

NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting medical research. Research is conducted on its own campuses and approximately 83 percent of its budget goes to support research in all 50 states, the territories, and around the world in more than 90 countries. NIH has developed many tools such as state-by-state funding data to help you see the research conducted in your state, region, nationally or internationally. The headquarters campus is on more than 300 acres in Bethesda, Maryland – and this is where it all begins.

NIH Clinical Center

The trip will include a tour of the Clinical Center, the nation’s largest hospital devoted entirely to medical research. Within 870,000 square feet are 242 hospital beds and laboratory space. You will get a demonstration of the "bench-to-bedside" approach to medicine – that is, the transference of scientific laboratory research into applications that benefit patient health and medical care. While at the Clinical Center, you also will be able to ask questions of the director of the National Institute on Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, tour the new metabolic research clinic and learn more about approaches to fighting childhood obesity. You will experience the new world of medicine that is preemptive, predictive, personalized and participatory.

National Library of Medicine

Also included on the tour will be a visit to the National Library of Medicine – the world’s largest medical library with more than 9 million items covering all areas of biomedicine and health care. The highlight of the visit will be a demonstration of Medline and PubMed and other research tools that the library has to offer. Some 900 million searches of Medline are done each year by health professionals, scientists, librarians, and the public. Medline staff will provide you help on making the best use of this vast resource.

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