Women in STEM Explore the Simulator Program at Boston Children’s Hospital
Throughout the school year, Gann’s Women in STEM club brings in influential women to discuss careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). From hands-on demonstrations of cutting-edge military fabrics led by a female engineer to lessons on coding, this female-identifying group is both practical and engaging—and it's one of Gann’s most popular clubs.
Recently, club members left the Gann campus for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hospital Simulator Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. The tour, led by mechanical engineer Melissa Burke, started with an overview of the different types of simulations the program facilitates.
The program hosts a number of different simulation rooms, from a child’s bedroom to help train parents and caregivers to fully-equipped operating rooms used by medical professionals. The latter helps surgeons practice complex, unique, and rare operations. In these mock-operating rooms, doctors practice cuts on 3D-printed models and can compare the effectiveness of various approaches to a procedure. These simulation spaces also provide authentic environments to test new medical devices and even to film tv shows and movies.
While the program is housed at the hospital, the program comes with a global component. Across the United States and abroad, doctors and nurses use the tools and models created by the simulator to practice complex and unique surgeries, from cleft palate reconstruction, which requires sub-millimeter precision to avoid scaring, to rare procedures that most doctors only encounter once or twice in their careers.
The overall goal of the simulator program is to provide opportunities for experiential learning to take the influence of fear out of procedures and help patients make informed healthcare decisions. This includes dress-rehearsals of complex operations including a whole-team reflection to provide feedback to one another about their teamwork.
This wonderful opportunity was made possible by Michael Bohnen, one of Gann’s founders and Lisa Kaufman, a Gann alumni mother who serves as Assistant VP of Foundation Relations at Boston Children’s Hospital.