School of Medicine Joins Forces

Diane Oh/New University

UC Irvine School of Medicine is joining forces with the University of England to produce  future generations of technologically-savvy doctors. The University of England will be adapting the iMedEd Initiative’s methods and technology used for clinical training and learning.

UCI brings its knowledge regarding the inclusion of technology into medicine to create more efficiency in the partnership. Australia’s National Broadband Network will be providing the financial backing for the project.

Along with the customary white coats, the class of 2014 was presented with iPads as they were welcomed into UCI’s School of Medicine. The iPads were loaded with information necessary for the students to survive their first year of medical school. The iPads are equipped with all required textbooks and lecture notes, which can be annotated on the iPads themselves. The iPads also include applications made to aid medical school students taking classes such as anatomy and histology to help them study.

While the incorporation of the iPad is expected to attract tech-savvy students, UCI stresses that tech-illiterate students should not be deterred from the program.

“We hope to recruit students who love to learn via technology,” UCI Professor and educational technology facilitator Dr. Mary Frances Ypma-Wong said. “However, we don’t want to exclude students because we have put a lot of time and effort to help students who may not be especially tech-savvy to learn.”

New technology is intended to foster an efficient and productive learning  environment.

“I’m proud of our school for being the first to use this technology,” Ypma-Wong said.

The iPad provides a responsive medical learning system. A part of the new system includes other technologies such as a portable ultrasound system.

“Attaining teaching efficiency is always difficult. What we hope to happen is to see students engage more with the curriculum,” Dr. Warren Wiechmann said. “Though there is no data to prove that this technology has changed anything yet, students have mentioned the difference it has had on small group discussions. Students are able to work together while going back and worth easily while annotating pictures on their iPads.”

In the past, University of New England collaborated with the University of Newcastle to improve health care accessibility. This new coalition between UCI and the London and Australian entities will drastically enhance the quality of the services these medical facilities will provide. According to UCI doctors, here in Irvine it is exceedingly difficult to comprehend the idea of rural medicine and the challenges it encompasses.

Inland Australia is presented with more of a challenge than other areas in acquiring better medical accessibility. This is where UCI plays a crucial role in helping to increase accessibility. The new iPad technology helps by being an  impressive mobile device that can be carried with medical students and professionals.

“We have been working to increase medical quality between sites,” Wiechmann said. “The iPad helps bring accessibility to different parts of the country, while extending the possibilities for education.”

In exchange for their technological curriculum building services, UCI  students will receive other direct benefits. UNE and UCI School of Medicine are creating a student exchange program. UCI medical students looking for more exciting and unique opportunities beyond Orange County will receive a glimpse of working on an international level.

Ultimately, UCI School of Medicine and UNE hope to continuously improve medical services and pave the new frontier of medical learning with their inter-university collaboration.