On April 6, 2016, fifteen middle and high school girls from the Bay Area, including girls from the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club, attended WIB-San Francisco Bay Area’s Young Women In Bio event at Stanford Biodesign in Palo Alto, California.
The Stanford Biodesign Fellowship Program charges its fellows to form connections between innovation and healthcare with the goal of developing practical, cost effective solutions to address today’s medical needs. The girls were greeted by fellows at their Biodesign offices, followed by an introduction to the Biodesign program by Elisabeth Wynne and brief descriptions from fellows of their ongoing projects: William Kethman described in depth the principles and development of a device intended for early detection of asthma in children. This device is being clinically tested, and Dr. Kethman showed the girls its prototype. The students expressed their interest and curiosity by asking many questions: What percentage of ideas become products? How long does it take to make a product? Do the physicians and engineers come from prestigious schools? Why can’t this device work in adults?
Following pizza dinner, the girls participated in hands-on activities at the hospital and surgical training lab. The girls were split into groups - one group learned and practiced tying surgical knots, while the other group gained hands-on experience with laparoscopic surgical tools as well as the Da Vinci surgical robot. By using this equipment, the girls experienced training doctors undergo to become better surgeons. Additionally, the girls got to interact informally with surgeon trainees who passed by.
At the event’s close we walked back through the lovely Stanford campus to the Biodesign offices where pictures were taken and parents were waiting. The students and the parents expressed their gratitude for such exciting learning opportunity.
Thanks to Elisabeth Wynne and William Kethman for being excellent hosts and helping to organize a dynamic and engaging event for the girls.
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