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Apple recognizes UCI’s iMedEd Initiative

The School of Medicine’s iPad-based curriculum aims to bring medical education into the future

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: February 11, 2013 03:15 PM

There are no books in the classes at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, and the desks are lined with iPads. That’s because the school’s innovative iMedEd Initiative is seeking to emulate a new era of technology-based patient care. The forward-looking curriculum has been named a 2012-2013 Apple Distinguished Program.

The recognition by Apple is reserved for programs that employ the computer manufacturer’s products in exemplary learning environments. Programs from across the country that meet Apple’s criteria of combining visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional development, compelling evidence of success and a flexible learning environment, are selected for the honor.

The iMedEd Initiative is focused on a technology-based medical school curriculum, integrating new healthcare-related tech into a completely digital, interactive learning environment. Students are equipped with iPads and will participate in portable ultrasound clinical training, study using textbooks downloaded to the iPads, and use digital stethoscopes. Their tablets provide lecture podcasts, course work, clinical materials, and other study information.

“At UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, we see each of our talented students as having a unique style of learning” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. “It’s our challenge and responsibility to provide a broad array of educational opportunities so that every student can master the knowledge essential to becoming an outstanding healthcare provider.”

“The digital platform has enabled us to effectively respond to this responsibility in a manner heretofore unimaginable. By having all aspects of our medical school curriculum on iPad, learning becomes a 24/7 opportunity no longer tied to the classroom or a desk. We believe our students are learning better than they have in the past.”

The iMedEd Initiative is funded through the support of the John and Mary Tu Scholarship Fund, which has financed the purchase of next-generation iPads and electronic textbooks for the incoming classes of UC Irvine medical students.

The iMedEd program has developed beyond the classroom through its students’ ingenuity and a little outside help. Through the support of the Kay Family Foundation, UCI Medical School students teamed up with students from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences to hold the first-ever Med App-Jam, in which participants combined their knowledge and expertise to design Apple-based applications with medical utility.

“Our students’ enthusiasm and willingness to discover new learning modalities is unparalleled, and they are key to the success of iMedEd,” said Dr. Warren Wiechmann, an assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and faculty director of the Instructional Technologies Group, which oversees iMedEd. “It’s extremely gratifying to see our students apply technology in innovative ways because we strongly believe that familiarity and comfort with technology will be essential for them to be skilled physicians in this new digital era of medicine.”

Another group has created the iMedEd International program, which seeks to apply the school-supplied iPads and SonoSite portable point-of-care ultrasound units to solving the challenges of delivering care and medical education to parts of Peru, Australia, China, Vietnam, Nicaragua, India and Israel.

A presentation ceremony of the Apple Distinguished Program Award plaque took place Monday, Feb. 11, at the UC Irvine Medical Center campus.


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