Saturday, June 17, 2017

Virtual Reality Arrives on Campus: Week of June 16th

Students, Faculty, Residents, Staff, Alumni, Board members and Friends,

While we have many students and faculty on campus, others are on break, clinical rotations or in the case of staff, taking well-earned vacations.  The Elkins Park campus seem a bit quieter and less hectic than during other times of the year, while our clinical facilities appear to be as busy as ever, which is good!

This week marks a transitional week for us as our virtual reality simulation lab was finally unboxed and set up on the second floor of our south building as part of the new Clinical Procedures Lab.  I had the opportunity to be one of the first to “road test” our new teaching tool.  All I can say is, “WOW!”  After adjusting the binocular indirect ophthalmoscope, I held up the condensing lens to the model and a “real” person with a “real” eye appeared before me.  Now, I’m not going to tell you that I got a perfect image right off the bat, after all, it’s been a while since I’ve done this, but with some coaching from Dr. Scharre and our VR Magic rep, I was able to get a pretty good view of a retina with a peripheral hole as well as some other things.  The fidelity of this new teaching tool was remarkable.  It’s going to change the way we both teach and learn - I’m certain of that.  This new lab will also help to set us apart from other programs in the country.

I had the opportunity to attend a Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce panel discussion that focused on what they termed the future of higher education’s delivery model.  During the event, I had the opportunity to hear from: Dr. Steve Spinelli, president of Philadelphia University, but after July 1st, he will be the Chancellor of the combined Jefferson-Philadelphia University; Dr. Steve Klasko, CEO of Jefferson University and Health System; Dr. Joyce Russell, Dean of the Villanova School of Business; Grace Suh, Director of Education Programs at IBM; and Elizabeth Russell from Grant Thornton.  

The discussion, which was moderated by Trish Wellenbach, President and CEO of the Please Touch Museum, described a truly progressive model for graduate medical education Jefferson is currently evolving, which focuses on choosing the right student to go into medicine. It is not based on the traditional MCAT exam or performance in subjects like organic chemistry or microbiology, but rather on their ability to observe and communicate with their patients. Clearly, there are minimums standards  students still have to meet, but their goal is to educate providers who can not only embrace the information and technology that's ubiquitous in medicine today, but also have the ability to connect and communicate with their patients effectively. This clearly resonated with me as that is our goal at Salus. While we haven’t yet discussed eliminating some of the historic entrance requirements, we do pay a great deal of attention of prospective student’s ability to assimilate and process information and also how they can communicate with others.  It was a fascinating discussion, especially hearing how the experts from industry perceived this new type of model.  IBM is now interviewing candidates who may not necessary have terminal degrees, but rather they have skill sets that are germane to today’s tech sector and can also communicate effectively.  It’s an interesting concept that likely will get a great deal of attention in the near future.

Last week we also had the opportunity to participate in the annual meeting of the Northeast Association of Advisors for Health Professions, which was held in Philadelphia this year.  With over 300 undergraduate advisors attending the meeting, we had the opportunity to showcase all of our program offerings and provided a tour of Salus.  Kudos to Admissions Director Monica Maisto and her staff for providing a great overview of Salus and tours of the campus to these advisors.  

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Dr. Patrick O’Connor McManamon OD ’17 for receiving the 2017 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care.  Dr. O’Connor McManamon will be commencing his residency in contact lens practice at The Eye Institute next month.

So far it looks like it might be a rainy weekend here so if you do go out, please try to stay dry and be careful.

To all you fathers out there, I wish you all a Happy Father’s Day! Have some fun and enjoy!

Don’t forget - Looking Out For Kids – November 11th!


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