Member? Log in...

Join or renew today


Health Journalism 2007 Field Trips

City of Hope

This field trip is full. Feel free to register for standby.

THURSDAY - Bus starts loading at 11:45 a.m., leaves hotel at 12:15 p.m.
Lunch served at field trip site

(Note: This information has been updated. City of Hope can no longer offer the tour of the robotic surgery suite because of capacity issues.)


Tomotherapy is essentially a marriage of two types of technology: spiral CT scanning and intensity modulated radiation therapy. As with a CT scanner, the patient moves through the unit, but instead of a regular x-ray a special therapy x-ray spirally rotates around the patient. With the ability to see and treat each patient's cancer with greater precision, the TomoTherapy system offers new hope for patients with many
forms of cancer.

City of Hope is the only center in the world conducting total marrow irradiation (TMI) for bone marrow transplant patients using tomotherapy, and we are a pioneer of TomoTherapy in the U.S.

The tour will include:

  • a video presentation on TomoTherapy that includes graphical animations and movies of the screening process
  • a visit to a TomoTherapy machine, treatment room and control room
  • a discussion with a patient treated with TomoTherapy who is doing extremely well following treatment
City of Hope, T-cell
T-cell laboratories focused on cancer

One of the strongest candidates for a cure to cancer may be the body's own immune system. T-cells have the ability to fight off malignant cells, if only they could identify them and respond in force. Cancer not only overruns the system by endlessly dividing, it also shuts down immune response, letting tumor cells go on unchecked.

City of Hope researchers are making great strides in harnessing the disease fighting ability of T-cells and having a cancer patient's own immune system attack and eradicate cancerous cells. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit City of Hope's T-cell laboratories, where research is quickly and safely being translated into effective treatments for brain tumors, one of the most lethal forms of cancer. Learn how patients can donate their own T-cells and how researchers re-engineer them to recognize tumor cells specifically. Examine T-cell cultures through a microscope. Watch footage of T-cells destroying tumor cells and see how City of Hope is working to realize the promise of immmunotherapy.

Back at hotel: 5 p.m.

USC Health Sciences

This field trip is full. Feel free to register for standby.
- Bus starts loading at 8 a.m., leaves hotel at 8:30 a.m.

USC Doheny Eye Institute
Retinal implant project

Field trip participants will see a demonstration of the retinal implant and use a simulator allowing them to see what a blind person with an implant may see, as well as a peek at the new generation of devices. Led by project creator Dr. Mark Humayun, Doheny Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine.

This project has led to the development of a retinal prosthetic system that may one day provide vision to millions of blind worldwide. Consisting of several subsystems, it is divided into an artificial retina implanted into a patient combined with an external/wearable video camera. The ultimate goal is a fully implantable system. The components include an implanted artificial retina consisting of 16 electrodes, a digital camera and image-processing unit.

The first phase of this project included six patients who are still undergoing regular testing. The FDA recently approved phase 2 of the study, which will involve an implant of 40 electrodes.

USC Keck Schook of Medicine
Surgical skills center and trauma simulator

Field trip attendees will have an opportunity to practice their "surgical" skills, perform trauma care on a manikin/simulator as well as perform a virtual colonoscopy.

Part two of this field trip includes a visit to the surgical skills center and trauma simulator. The advanced full-body simulator is a primary teaching tool for surgeons as well as Navy trauma medical personnel who train nearby at LAC USC Medical Center.

In the surgical skills suite, also known as the dry lab, medical students develop skills by laparoscopically manipulating objects and performing cutting, stitching or stapling on inanimate objects. The surgical suite consists of eight operating room tables to accommodate 24 trainees.

The entire facility is supported by an audio-visual system that allows the activities at each table to be viewed on monitors throughout the center. The facility also is equipped to communicate with other educational centers through telemedicine.

The USC Surgical Skills Training and Education Center is a state-of-the-art educational facility that provides the ideal environment to teach fundamental and advanced technical skills and procedures. The center provides a simulated environment where students, residents, and practicing physicians can learn and hone their technical skills prior to performing procedures on a patient.

Back at hotel: 12:30 p.m.

UCLA Health Sciences

This field trip is full. Feel free to register for standby.
- Bus starts loading at 8 a.m., leaves hotel at 8:20 a.m.
Breakfast served at field trip site

IMPORTANT NOTE - Journalists attending this field trip will be required to follow the dress code policy:
All visitors must have appropriate attire if access to the jobsite is desired. Dress shoes and tennis shoes are not allowed -- no high heels, open-toed shoes, or sneakers. Please wear hiking boots or flat sturdy shoes. No dresses, skirts or sleeveless blouses/shirts are allowed. Slacks preferred.

UCLA School of Medicine
Hospital of the future

Don a hardhat for a sneak peek at the hospital of the future! It is a construction project that defies simple definition. Think immense: The new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is the largest building project in the 134-year history of the University of California.

Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, this architectural and state-of-the art jewel will house one of the largest and most technologically advanced trauma centers in the Los Angeles area. One of the first structures in the state to meet stringent 2008 California earthquake-safety standards to withstand earthquake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, the hospital will provide the centerpiece for medical and research breakthroughs discovered at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Think innovation: Some highlights of the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center include:

  • Surgeons will be operating in the largest complex of integrated operating rooms built to-date using the most advanced surgical concepts with full audio-visual integration systems. UCLA collaborated with three groups - engineers, physicians and industry - to shape the surgical suites of tomorrow.
  • Physicians will be able to have two-way video conferencing from inside every operating room, and other doctors will be able to view procedures live from remote locations within the medical center.
  • Helipads with express elevators will efficiently transport patients to the hospital's trauma center on the first floor.
    UCLA School of Medicine
  • The operating rooms and adjacent interventional procedure rooms will feature modular floor plans, allowing them to expand and reconfigure as medical technology evolves.
  • Most of the beds will function as "universal rooms" that can convert to intensive care beds, if necessary.
  • Completely Filmless Imaging Environment - including the Emergency Room and Operating Rooms.
  • Each private patient room will have a window seat that converts to a bed, allowing family members to room-in with patients. ICU areas will feature a comfortable sleeper chair.
  • Physicians and nurses will perform many procedures in the individual rooms, instead of moving patients around the hospital.
  • Clinical Staff will have access to the electronic patient chart at every bedside.
  • Patient rooms will benefit from an abundance of natural outdoor light through windows that overlook gardens, green spaces, and gathering places that surround the new building.
  • Wireless access to the Internet for patients from their own laptops will be available throughout the new building.
  • Cutting-edge medical equipment and communication technology will be integrated throughout the hospital.

Back at hotel: 11:20 a.m.