Health Journalism 2015: Field Trips

AHCJ MEMBERS ONLY: Sign-up for Thursday field trips.

Sign-ups will open on Tuesday, March 10, at 1 p.m. Central Time. You must have received confirmation from us that you are registered for the conference before you can sign up. There are two options for field trips this year, featuring the following:

Field trip 1

Extending the life of a failing pediatric heart

Children with failing hearts can now rely on heart assist devices for months or years while awaiting a transplant. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford has pioneered the use of these different types of ventricular assist devices, such as the Berlin Heart or the Heartmate, even in small kids. Seth Hollander, M.D., associate section chief of heart failure and transplantation, will display and discuss when and how these bridge-to-transplant devices are used, along with future innovations in the field of pediatric cardiology.

Space exploration meets children's health care

At the Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Education at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, NASA-inspired rigor of spaceflight training has been adapted to run simulation training for emergency or crisis births. Founded in 2002, CAPE was the world’s first comprehensive pediatric simulation-based training program. In 2005, CAPE’s NeoSim program became the basis for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Neonatal Resuscitation Program. It is now using its mixed learning laboratory to study mother and neonate safety. CAPE trains health professionals from around the world, with a special emphasis on a multidisciplinary team model that emphasizes equality between team members. Immersion includes complex, simulation-based emergency scenarios using lifelike mannequins with beating hearts, pumping lungs and auditory cues. CAPE is also developing new operational systems using systems engineering to improve how hospitals integrate and manage all resources.  Journalists will be able to watch CAPE staffers practice emergency perinatal care, meet CAPE team members and may participate in a simulation scenario.

Is your hospital ready for a disaster?

Stanford Health Care has rallied teams of clinicians to Haiti, the Philippines and West Africa; it has weathered complete power outages and an emergency department overflowing with flu patients. Its experience with earthquakes is frequent.and identification as a possible target for bioterrorism attack also heighten the need for prepared multi-agency response. Stanford's Office of Emergency Management orchestrates continual training, drills and simulations that lead to a well-trained emergency team capable of dealing with even the most complex events. Join Brandon Bond, administrative director for the Office of Emergency Management, as he shares the wisdom of practical experience on how local hospitals can best prepare and deliver disaster medicine.

Accelerated discoveries

If you think physics and biology are two separate disciplines, prepare to be surprised by the work at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Constructed in 1962, SLAC has been the setting for research that has earned six Nobel Prizes. SLAC hosts thousands of visiting researchers from around the world each year. New research includes the use of focused X-rays to zap molecules to determine their structure, advancing drug development and basic biological insight. Journalists will see where 2006 Nobel winner in chemistry Roger Kornberg detailed how the genetic code in DNA is read and converted into a message that directs protein synthesis. Learn about macromolecular crystallography and get a peek at current work.

Field trip 2

Practicing medicine

At the 28,000-square-foot Goodman Immersive Learning Center, one of four facilities in the Center for Immersive and Simulation-based Learning at Stanford, journalists will get a first-hand look at a state-of-the-art simulation facility providing education at a variety of levels. The Center offers task trainers and high-fidelity clinical simulations using the Laerdal SimMan 3G, a medical mannequin that breathes and sweats. This fall, one large space was converted to reproduce a treatment room for patients with Ebola. The Center has a clinical exam room, acute care treatment room, two operating suites and equipment to teach endoscopy, central line insertion, trauma care, minimally invasive surgery techniques. CISL’s goals go beyond training of individual physicians to include tests of new forms of care delivery and education of public safety and public health organizations and providers. CISL’s director, David M. Gaba, M.D., is the founding editor the indexed, peer-reviewed journal Simulation in Healthcare. He also directs the Patient Simulation Center of Innovations at the VA’s Palo Alto Health Care System.

Not your grandparent's anatomy lab

The Division of Clinical Anatomy at Stanford University has long held a tradition of innovation to assist in the teaching of medical students. In the 1950’s, Professor David Bassett, working in collaboration with William Gruber, inventor of the View-Master, created a highly revered stereoscopic photographic atlas of human dissection, still in use to this day. In the 1980’s, Dr. Robert Chase, then head of the Division of Anatomy, continued to pursue this interest with research in the use of 3D models for visualizing the human body. The division’s innovations include the Anatomage Table, a life-size virtual cadaver; 3-D anatomy iPad viewers, virtual holographic displays with built-in head tracking and virtual dissection; and Occulus Rift virtual reality applications that include a tour of the ear and the hand/wrist. VR tours are also available for mobile devices. Journalists will have the opportunity to try out a virtual reality headset or a holographic workstation.

Detecting cancer

Canary Center researchers are working toward a world where cancer is detected at its most treatable stage. Together, Stanford University and the Canary Foundation have dedicated over $50 million to create the only center in the world developing a combination of blood and imaging tests for more accurate detection, diagnosis and treatment direction of early cancers.  The center is the first in the world to integrate research on both in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to deliver these tests, by housing state-of-the-art core facilities and collaborative research programs in molecular imaging, proteomics, chemistry and bioinformatics. The center houses an array of specialized equipment that allows research to progress from early stage discovery, to pre-clinical validation, to clinical translation. Journalists will be able to see a live demonstration of some of the newest imaging techniques, tour the facilities and hear more about early diagnosis and treatment from leading cancer researchers.

Bionic veterans

As veterans return from the wars with spinal injuries, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System has a new, cutting-edge tool to teach them how to move again. Participants will be given the opportunity to watch as therapists demonstrate the Ekso Bionic Suit, a robotic exoskeleton and to learn more about the VA’s rehabilitation efforts. Weight shifts activate sensors in the device to initiate steps, while motors drive the legs. VAPAHCS operates nearly 900 beds, including three nursing homes and a 100-bed homeless domiciliary – all to serve more than 67,000 enrolled veterans.