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Engineering Students Work with UTGSM to Turn Knowledge into Skills

Jeff Reinbolt, PhD, University of Tennessee Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE), led a senior capstone design course in collaboration with the UT Graduate School of Medicine for engineering students to bridge between theory-based education and a problem-solving profession. The project addressed an important research education problem where a gap exists between the education of biomedical engineers and their roles in the engineering workforce. The course introduced a period of clinical immersion and planning over the summer to serve as a springboard for future design activities. A combination of student teams, clinical environment, and open-ended biomedical design projects were used to overcome a critical barrier and bridge the gap to progress in scientific knowledge, technical capability, and clinical practice in biomedical engineering.

This program was characterized by collaborations rare in undergraduate engineering. The multi-institutional environment including UT MABE, UT Graduate School of Medicine, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is an important and novel approach.

For the past three summers, the UT Graduate School of Medicine has participated in the clinical engineering partnership. Doctors from several departments have allowed the Biomedical Engineering students to participate in a clinical immersion throughout the summer. By shadowing clinical faculty, these students were then able to begin designing projects based on the needs they see in the hospital. Clinial shadowing, literature/patient searches, and project planning take place over a 10-week period to provide an immersive training environment through daily activities in a clinical setting and discussions about treatment protocols.

The project has been funded by a grant from the National Instittues of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Posted October 21, 2014

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