Mayo Clinic Writes on WIRES

After a recent visit to Mayo Clinic, Team 2220’s WIRES (Women In Robotics Empowering Sisters) program was recognized in a brand new way. Not only did WIRES have the chance to see “how advanced technology and robotics are used in medical training and simulation.” This unique opportunity turned even more special when Mayo Clinic interviewed WIRES’s adult mentor Candace Lindow-Davies on the involvement of women in STEM fields. Read the exact article below.


Note: the following text was not written by a Team 2220 Blue Twilight member, but is credited to the Mayo Clinic and its publication of their network newsletter.


Connecting WIRES to future careers in health care

Aug. 5, 2016

For a group of junior and high school girls from Eagan, Minnesota, a recent visit to Mayo Clinic took their interest in technology and robotics to a whole new level.

Lisa Schimmenti, M.D., Otorhinolaryngology and Clinical Genomics, and Erin O’Brien, M.D., Otorhinolaryngology, who is the diversity leader for the department, recently led an event specifically for Women in Robotics Empowering Sisters (WIRES), an extracurricular group of female students. This gave the students the opportunity to explore how advanced technology and robotics are used in medical training and simulation.

“Our whole initiative is to get girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields,” says CandaceLindow Davies, one of the WIRES parent mentors. “And, often in robotics we talk about the mechanical, the electrical, the Information Technology side of it, but we don’t talk enough about other innovative uses. Coming to Mayo Clinic is an opportunity to expose them to science and novel medical applications of those skills.”

“We spoke a lot about how much technology and robotic innovations have changed medicine and surgical practice,” says Dr. Schimmenti.

Her goal — to show a broad range of applied science and technology — from studying zebrafish vision and hearing under microscopes, to patient simulation to 3D anatomical printing.

These “robotics wizards,” as Dr. Schimmenti calls them, showed great interest in the Rochester Multidisciplinary Simulation Center where they learned about technology used in simulation training and high-tech mannequin patients. They also visited the 3D printing laboratory at Mayo Clinic Hospital’s Saint Marys Campus, where they explored high resolution imaging used to create intricate 3D models used in planning surgeries.

“There’s so much correlation between what we learn in our robotic activities and medicine and research,” says Davies. “There’s teamwork, grant writing, presentations and problem-solving. The students were quick to pick up on these various aspects as they talked through some possible simulation situations.”

“For me, seeing women physicians leading labs and doing research was a real eye-opener,” says one of the student participants. “It tells me I could do that. Using robotics to learn patient care is amazing. My head is spinning thinking about all the robotic possibilities that could be applied to medicine.”

Dr. O’Brien also noted that it’s important to start early, and Mayo Clinic offers a unique opportunity to break down barriers to diversity and let students explore the many pathways that are available to careers in health care.

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