Field trips at #AHCJ18 to include brain surgery, mobile stroke unit, telemedicine

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Attendees of Health Journalism 2018 will likely have a difficult choice to make between this year’s two optional daylong field trips to Barrow Neurological Institute, Mayo Clinic, Banner University Phoenix, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and the Circle the City medical respite center for the homeless.

One field trip will first stop at the Barrow Neurological Institute, where they will visit the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, featuring a chance to try out the center’s unique balance machine.

Photo: Barrow Neurological InstituteEquipped with a CT scanner and other advanced diagnostic tools for stroke patients, this Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit enables the medical team to evaluate, diagnose and start treatment on the patient before the patient arrives at the hospital.

The group will move on to watch a live brain surgery, with the chance to communicate directly with the surgeon in the operating room, and then tour a mobile stroke unit that delivers specialized care before a patient even reaches the hospital.

The next stop will be at Circle the City, a nonprofit organization that delivers health care to the homeless population with a 50-bed medical respite center, one of five demonstration sites nationwide selected for a three-year study to affirm the effectiveness of homeless respite care relative to cost savings and patient success.

The other field trip starts out with a virtual reality demonstration that will let participants walk through a brain mass in the Mayo Clinic’s Precision Neurotherapeutics Lab. The clinic will host a “Mayo Expo,” giving attendees the chance to meet with doctors and scientists, who will be displaying and demonstrating the projects and procedures on which they are currently working. That will be followed by a tour of Mayo’s 400,000-square-foot Cancer Center.

At Banner Health, reporters will have the chance to experience telemedicine technology, including video cameras and microphones, from the patient perspective. Have you ever wondered how emergencies are handled when they arise in the middle of a plane flight? Visit the Medlink service at Banner Health and watch as emergency calls are handled in real time from commercial flights, private planes and ships.

At the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, participants will visit the  Center for Simulation and Innovation, a 33,000-square-foot, state-of-the art medical training facility. Reporters will scrub in and experience a suspended reality labor and delivery emergency led by the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a mannequin that delivers babies.

At the Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Innovation research lab, journalists will see things such as a rapid blood test being developed for NASA to determine astronauts’ radiation exposure with a pinprick; and an innovative mobile health platform that can diagnose pathogens, Ebola and neglected tropical diseases.

Seating is limited for these tours and to be eligible to sign up for a field trip, you must be a journalist and you must have registered for the conference no later than noon CT on March 5. Field trip sign-ups will open at noon CT on March 6.

Note: Pre-registration for the conference closes at noon CT on March 12.

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