Under the direction of AIUM member J. Christian Fox, MD, the University of California, Irvine (UCI), hosted Ultrafest, a free bedside ultrasound symposium for medical students throughout California, on Saturday, February 8th at the medical school campus.
Ultrafest will provide hands-on workshops in emergency medicine, urology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, anesthesia, cardiology, sports medicine, and more. The symposium provides an incredible opportunity for students to learn and improve bedside ultrasound skills in multiple fields. Website: Ultrafest | Follow Ultrafest on Twitter: @UltrafestUCI | Like Ultrafest on Facebook: UCI Ultrafest
Medicine is a dynamic field that is continuously advancing, and, in much the same way, so too is medical education. Evidence of some of these advancements and adjustments within medical education is the implementation of ultrasound to medical school core curriculums. In the past, ultrasound education has traditionally been a skill that is learned after medical school. However, within the past few years, several medical universities have adapted a medical curriculum that has included ultrasound education as part of the foundational curriculum. One of these universities includes the University of California, Irvine. As part of its adaptive curriculum, it has included its ultrasound curriculum as a teaching and research method both within their local community and internationally.
Recently, UC Irvine was fortunate to receive financial support from private donors to send students abroad for ultrasound research and teaching projects in underserved areas internationally. With this funding, students were able to develop ultrasound research projects and teaching curriculums during the academic year, and execute them during their summer. The goal of sending students abroad was multifocal: to allow students to see unique pathology, to disseminate teaching skills, and to hone already-learned ultrasound skills. Projects locations included working with non-governmental organizations in Panama, Romania, India, Tanzania, Australia, China and other countries. The projects that were designed by these students included, but were not limited to, research on imaging cerebral malaria, teaching local midwives to use ultrasound within Panamanian villages, scanning for renal disease in migrate farm workers in Nicaragua, and several others.
Overall, international ultrasound-focused opportunities provide an outlet for medical students to practice and apply newly acquired ultrasound skills under physician supervision.
Our study has shown that UC Irvine medical students felt that their international experiences were a positive influence on developing their ultrasound skills and training, and that future resources and endeavors were highly encouraged and well received.
Ultrasound has become a culture at UC Irvine. However, what sets this medical education experience apart from any other is the unique ability to integrate and apply these freshly founded skills earlier in their medical careers with the support of both the faculty and local community. By encouraging students to continue to pursue their interests within ultrasound as both researchers and teachers, we allow more opportunities to better train and expose our future physicians to a broad variety of cultures, pathology, and medicine.
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