News & Publications


VirtuOHSU Hosts Sixth Saturday Academy Event for Portland Area High School Students

January 15, 2011, thirteen high school students from the Portland metropolitan area participated in a surgery workshop put on by VirtuOHSU Surgical Simulation Center. The course is administered through Saturday Academy, an organization that facilitates hands-on learning for high school students through courses taught by community experts. The day was full of activities that gave students an inside view of a day in the life of a surgeon. In the morning, students toured an OHSU operating room, practiced 'scrubbing in' and saw a demonstration of the Da Vinci robot. In the afternoon they practiced suturing, surgical knot-tying and laparoscopic skills in addition to trying out a laparoscopic and endoscopy virtual reality simulator. This was the sixth Saturday Academy event that VirtuOHSU has facilitated.

Young Oregonians explore health careers with OHSU Surgeons

VirtuOHSU was recently featured in a OHSU School of Medicine article for its participation in MedStars.

Forty aspiring health professionals from rural or medically underserved communities in Oregon visited the OHSU campus in July as part of the MedStars Honors Experience, a health science career development event for high school and early college students. The four-day program is sponsored by the Area Health Education Center Program Office and the four regional AHEC centers in Oregon.

The need for rural and diverse health care workers is clear. Fifteen of Oregon’s 36 counties contain geographic Health Professional Shortage Areas for primary care, according to data from the Office of Rural Health. MedStars also accepts applicants who are of minority status, supporting future health professionals who will enhance workforce diversity.

The Department of Surgery hosted a surgical skills workshop in the VirtuOHSU lab, complete with suturing, electrocautery and laparoscopic procedure stations. Donn Spight, MD, Medical Director of VirtuOHSU, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, and Katie Moreland, MBS, VirtuOHSU Coordinator, Department of Surgery, organized the surgery skills training. Surgery residents Drs. Rachel Danczyk, Jimmy Chim, Aric Aghayan, Nick Kunio and Erin Gilbert, and medical students Nick Esmonde and Sean Watters provided expertise and guidance for the young students.

“Virtual reality simulation technology is changing the way we approach surgery and technical skills training,” said Dr. Spight. “These young students were able to dive right in and participate in training similar to what our residents experience.”

“Students enjoy learning what it means to be a resident, especially hearing the stories from the operating room,” said Katie. “And the experience is thrilling for our physicians, too, because the students clearly look up to them.”

Throughout their stay, students met with therapists, research scientists, outreach professionals, technicians and alternative medicine specialists to learn more about their contributions to the healing and well being of patients. Other hands-on activities included a simulated dental lab, gross anatomy lab and four clinical skills teaching stations.

Participants are selected based on their demonstrated interest in a health science career, experience in health-related curricula and academic good standing. A junior MedStars program is being organized for October 2010, and will involve younger high school students interested in health careers.

Other news:

VirtuOHSU-Surgical Residents

OHSU surgical residents practice vascular surgical procedures on cadaveric models under the guidance of OHSU faculty.

The following article appears in the April 2010 OHSU Surgical Log:

In January, VirtuOHSU Surgical Simulation Center received a generous educational grant from Ethicon-Endosurgery, Inc. to support the use of high fidelity models to enhance surgical skills training. This grant, the second awarded by Ethicon Endosurgery, Inc. to VirtuOHSU, represents their continued commitment to resident education.  In 2009 an Ethicon Endosurgery Inc. grant provided critical laboratory supplies and take home laparoscopic trainers (Taskit Trainers) for all the PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents. Dr. Donn Spight, Medical Director of VirtuOHSU and Dr. Erica Mitchell, Associate Director of VirtuOHSU, were responsible for the submission of the grant. The current grant funds five surgical skills labs at the Legacy Institute for Surgical Education between February and July.

In these lab sessions residents and fellows are guided through index open, minimally invasive, and vascular surgical procedures on cadaveric and porcine models. The first lab session was held February 8, 2010. Twenty PGY-3 and 4 surgical residents spent the morning practicing an array of surgical procedures under the tutelage of general surgery faculty and fellows. Department of Surgery faculty included Drs. Spight, Mitchell, Wilson and Liem. Professor Emeritus Dr. Donald McConnell graciously donated his time and expertise as well.

Dr. Jimmy Chim, third-year surgical resident, summed up the benefit of such an experience, "It was actually something I've always wanted to do as a surgical resident:  to essentially return to gross anatomy with the knowledge  I have now and explore the abdomen with no limitations.  It was the most fun I've had in teaching didactics in all the years of my residency thus far."   

The next of these high fidelity model operative simulations is set for March 29th.


Other VirtuOHSU News:

  • On July 16, 2010 VirtuOHSU participated in the MedStars program. MedStars is a program designed to help high school students from rural areas of Oregon learn how to pursue a health care career or health career options. The 35 students participated in surgical skill building activities such as surgical knot-tying, suturing, and virtual laparoscopic surgery. Department of Surgery Faculty, Residents and OHSU Medical Students graciously donated their time and expertise at the event.
  • The Latino Medical Student Association as well as the Student National Medical Association will bring Roosevelt High School students to VirtuOHSU Friday, March 5, 2010. Students will have the opportunity to participate in surgical skill building stations, learn about surgical simulation and have the opportunity to interact with OHSU medical students.
  • VirtuOHSU hosted its fourth Saturday Academy event April 17th, 2010.
  • VirtuOHSU is working with AHEC to bring a select group of Oregon 9th and 10th grade students to OHSU learn about careers in healthcare and to experience simulation activities in October 2010.