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The Center for Excellence in Remote and Medically Underserved Areas ...

Posted on Jun 07, 2004 by Doug Howell
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The Center for Excellence in Remote and Medically Underserved Areas (CERMUSA) at Saint Francis University (SFU) has been working with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) and the MAGPI gigaPoP to develop advanced methods of medical education using Internet2. These collaborators are making costly medical simulation models housed at USUHS, located in Bethesda, MD, available over Internet2 advanced networks to students in the Physician Assistant program at SFU, located in rural Loretto, PA. Advanced connectivity in rural and hard to reach locations such as Loretto can be a challenge for institutions that are looking to take advantage of Internet2. In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and the MAGPI gigaPoP, a sustainable cost-effective solution was found enabling CERMUSA to obtain a 45 Mbps connection to the Abilene Network through MAGPI. Colleagues at the National Library of Medicine, along with the technical staff at CERMUSA, were helpful in finding innovative solutions for many of the security issues the group confronted during transmission.

The most recent simulation—performed by these collaborators—involved SFU students in a classroom with four plasma monitors, each displaying high quality video of the emergency room simulator located at USUHS. Two monitors showed an overall view of the emergency room and two displayed the vital signs monitor for the simulated patient, transmitted using Digital Video Transport System (DVTS). Students watched the live video feeds, made assessments about the "patient," and communicated those assessments in real-time to the doctor at USUHS, who then performed the procedures on the patient simulator. According to Robert E. Griffin Assistant Director of Distance Learning at CERMUSA, "Simulation is a tool that must be used in medical education. Internet2 advanced networks can potentially extend access to simulators, instructors, and other learning resources, to students anywhere—changing the traditional model of the medical education classroom."

This project is partially funded by the Office of Naval Research.