Health Journalism 2018: Field trips

Each conference offers a selection of optional field trips showing research in action, unique patient care, the latest in medical training or public health concerns. Local hosts are given the opportunity to provide site options, as they are often area health leaders. Non-host suggestions are also considered. Seating is limited for these tours.

To be eligible to sign up for a field trip, you must be a journalist and you must be registered for the conference.


Field trip 1

Get an inside look of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center

Reporters will have an opportunity to tour a comprehensive Parkinson’s disease treatment center, named for Muhammad Ali, who was a patient of the center. The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center located at the Barrow Neurological Institute, features a wide variety of visual opportunities during this tour, including patient classes such as boxing. Reporters will also have an opportunity to test their balance on the center’s unique balance machine and visit with Holly Shill, M.D., the medical director of the center.

Training like a surgeon – view a live brain surgery

Watch a live brain surgery at the hospital where the largest number of brain surgeries is performed in the United States. During the live broadcast, attendees will be able to not only see the operating room but also take a look deep inside the brain as a Barrow surgeon operates. Reporters will also have an opportunity to communicate directly with the surgeon in the OR.

The live broadcast will take place inside the Telepresence Room, a real-time theater at Barrow Neurological Institute. The theater was the first of its kind in the United States and is used as a training ground for medical students and medical residents. It has the capability to broadcast live across the globe.

Equipped 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. (Credit: Barrow Neurological Institute)

Tour the “ER on wheels” revolutionizing stroke treatment

Barrow Neurological Institute is revolutionizing the way stroke victims receive medical treatment by creating and deploying a mobile stroke unit to treat strokes in the field. It is expected to dramatically speed the process in which strokes are diagnosed and treated, while greatly reducing death and long-term disability in stroke victims. It is one of 10 in the United States and is the first in the nation to operate around the clock in a city with a population greater than 1 million.

The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit, which looks like a large emergency service vehicle, enables the medical team to evaluate, diagnose and start treatment on the patient before the patient arrives at the hospital, helping to decrease long-term side effects or death from stroke. It is equipped with a CT scanner and other advanced diagnostic tools for faster diagnosis and treatment. It also includes live telemedicine capabilities to connect with a Barrow stroke physician.

Reporters will be able to tour the mobile stroke unit, meet a patient whose life was saved by the unit, and speak with Michael Waters, M.D., Ph.D., the medical director of Barrow’s stroke program.

A Circle the City Medical Respite Center patient interacts with a therapy dog. The center is a 50-bed facility serving ill and injured adults experiencing homelessness. (Credit: Circle the City)

A national model for homeless health care

This is your opportunity to witness the work of a dynamic and rapidly growing nonprofit community health organization. Circle the City has developed a homeless continuum of care that is the first-of-its-kind in Arizona, and one of the only models of its kind in the nation. The nonprofit’s medical respite center was 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. Circle the City will share data from this study funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The tour will give you an opportunity to meet Circle the City’s founder and Chief Medical Officer Sister Adele O’Sullivan, a visionary physician who has devoted her life and career to advocating for homeless individuals and making health care services available where no other resources existed before.

The tour starts where her vision began, at the downtown Phoenix Human Services Campus where hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness congregate each day for shelter, clothing, food, counseling, health care and other services. You’ll get a quick tour of medical facilities that Circle the City has under construction on the campus. From there you’ll head to Circle the City’s Medical Respite Center, a 50-bed facility where ill and injured adults experiencing homelessness have an opportunity to heal and regain hope. You’ll have an opportunity to tour the facility and talk to physicians, patients and volunteers.

Field trip 2

Walk through an augmented reality with 3-D accuracy

What makes Mayo Clinic tick? Catch a glimpse from the inside – literally. At the clinic’s Precision Neurotherapeutics Lab, you can walk through a brain mass with the help of virtual reality.

At the lab, neurosurgeons and researchers work to deliver more precise and personal neuro therapies using augmented reality, mathematical modeling, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and more.

At the Mayo Clinic’s Precision Neurotherapeutics Lab, neurosurgeons and researchers use augmented reality to deliver more precise and personal neuro therapies. (Credit: Mayo Clinic)

Meet experts at the “Mayo Expo”

This is a chance to go behind the scenes of one of the nation’s premier health care facilities and talk with physicians and scientists face-to-face. Catch up with experts at a “Mayo Expo” featuring innovations from many medical disciplines.

During this show-and-tell, physicians and researchers will be on hand to meet, greet, display and demo some of the projects and procedures that they are currently working on.

Tour a leading cancer center

Visit the nation’s only three-site National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. Led by cancer specialists, tour the three-story, 400,000-square-foot Mayo Cancer Center, which houses therapies from proton beam to integrative medicine.

Watch an extra layer of care delivered through telemedicine

Banner Health’s TeleICU program uses Philips eICU technology with predictive analytics and a remote team of critical care medicine physicians and intensive care unit registered nurses. Because this remote team is constantly watching for early signs of potential problems via vitals, they can alert the traditional bedside caregivers quickly of a patient’s changing status.

High-definition video cameras and microphones in every patient room allow those remote experts to partner with bedside physicians and nurses to deliver personalized minute-by-minute care and reduce ICU mortality. Reporters can experience this technology from the patient’s perspective and ask questions about these care teams.

The program has become the standard of care in all Banner adult ICUs and additionally provides support to critical access hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Nevada covering over 750 beds. Banner is one of largest TeleICU programs in the world.

See how professionals handle emergencies in air and sea

About 29,000 medical events occur in flight each year – but at 30,000 feet in the air who can help in an emergency? Reporters will get a first-hand look at a call center in the middle of a busy downtown emergency room that supports traveling passengers on commercial airliners, as well as private planes and ships, during medical emergencies. The MedLink service, operated by MedAire, operates globally and is located inside Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. MedLink is comprised of communication specialists and emergency medicine physicians. Watch and listen as calls come in throughout your visit.

The Center for Simulation and Innovation state-of-the-art medical training facility features simulated labor and delivery emergency with a mannequin. (Credit: Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix)

Training physicians: Next generation medical education

Visit the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, one of the nation’s youngest medical schools, for a tour led by physician-scientist Dean Guy Reed, M.D., M.S. Hear firsthand how the college successfully flipped the classroom and embraced technology which led to 6,800 applicants for just 80 spots this past year.

The tour 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.

The final tour stop will visit the Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Innovation research lab. Reporters will see Star Trek-like devices including organ-on-a-chip technology, which acts as a digital stomach; 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.