Asee peer logo

Board # 18 :Clinical Immersion in a Classroom Setting (Work in Progress)

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Biomedical Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Conrad M. Zapanta Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Conrad M. Zapanta is the Associate Department Head and a Teaching Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Zapanta received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (with an option in Biomedical Engineering) from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Zapanta has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Engineering at Hope College in Holland, MI, an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Austin Community College in Austin, TX, and an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at The Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, PA. He also worked for CarboMedics Inc. in Austin, TX, in the research and development of prosthetic heart valves.

Dr. Zapanta’s primary teaching responsibilities are Biomedical Engineering Laboratory and Design. Additional teaching interests include medical device design education and professional issues in biomedical engineering. Dr. Zapanta’s responsibilities as Associate Department head include overseeing the undergraduate curriculum and undergraduate student advising.

Dr. Zapanta’s research interests are in developing medical devices to treat cardiovascular disease, focusing on the areas of cardiac assist devices and prosthetic heart valves.
Dr. Zapanta is an active member in the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is a reviewer for several biomedical engineering journals. Dr. Zapanta also serves as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cardiovascular Sciences Small Business Special Emphasis Panel and as an ABET Program Evaluator (PEV) for Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering programs.

visit author page

author page

Howard D. Edington


Philip E. Empey University of Pittsburgh

visit author page

Philip Empey, PharmD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Associate Director for Pharmacogenomics in the Institute for Precision Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Dr. Empey conducts clinical and translational research aimed at understanding the mechanisms of the variability in drug response to improve medication-related outcomes in critically-ill patients and is leading pharmacogenomics clinical implementation, research, and education programs at UPMC.

visit author page


David Clement Whitcomb University of Pittsburgh, UPMC, and Carnegie Mellon University

visit author page

David C. Whitcomb MD, PhD is the Giant Eagle Foundation Professor of Cancer Genetics, a Professor of Medicine (with tenure), Cell Biology and Physiology, and Human Genetic at the University of Pittsburgh, and Director of the Precision Medicine Service at UPMC. Training includes a BS from Manchester University, MS, MD and PhD in Physiology from The Ohio State University, and both clinical and postdoctoral training in Medicine and Gastroenterology at Duke University. He joined faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991 where he served as Division Chief from 1999 to 2016. As a physician-scientist, his research into pancreatic disease, funded continuously for over two decades, revolutionized the field of pancreatic disorders in the areas of modeling, genetics and precision medicine – resulting in over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, some referenced over 1000 times, and with an h-factor of over 70. He has delivered over 500 lectures throughout the world, teaches genetics and personalized medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and is Director of the Precision Medicine for Bioengineers course at Carnegie Mellon University. He is editor-in-chief of Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, the top ranked open access gastroenterology and hepatology journal. He served as leader of major societies, directs the annual international meeting translational meeting, PancreasFest. He founded and advanced diagnostic/information analysis and medical decision support company, ARIEL Precision Medicine. He also provides an information services on pancreas-related issues to patients, physicians, and scientist through, and with a quarterly patient newsletter, Pancreas Education and Research Letter (PEaRL).


David C Whitcomb MD PhD
Phone: (412) 578-9515
Email: or or

visit author page

author page

Alan John Rosenbloom Carnegie Mellon University

Download Paper |


Placing a large number of students in a clinical immersion experience can be challenging. To address this problem, we have developed three courses that “bring the clinic to the classroom.” These courses are taught by clinicians who describe the medical needs in their specific medical fields and then give students the opportunity to create biomedical solutions to meet these needs. These courses also include field trips to hospitals and clinics to supplement the lectures.

1. Surgery for Engineers: This course is a survey of the intersection between surgery and engineering. Students will be introduced to surgeons representing a variety of surgical specialties (plastic surgery, surgical oncology, transplantation surgery, military surgery, trauma surgery, oral maxillofacial surgery, bariatric surgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiac and thoracic surgery, neurosurgery and others). The final project will be to select and deconstruct an unsolved surgical problem and to then suggest a potential solution involving engineering principles.

2. Precision Medicine for Engineers: This course explores the opportunities for engineers in precision medicine of complex medical disorders. Students will interact with clinical practitioners and investigate the technological challenges that face these practitioners. The course will focus on common complex conditions and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus and obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, pain syndrome and pharmacogenetics.

3. Engineering in Medicine: This course teaches students about acute care medicine and to encourage innovation that will help patients. The class will include familiarization with medical jargon and the fundamentals of acute illness. The student will get a glimpse of the inner workings of Intensive Care Units (ICU) based on over 30 years of the instructor’s experiences in ICU. Classes will present a body system, with aspects of its structure and normal function. Typical modes of failure i.e. disease, will be described and illustrated with examples using actual de-identified cases.

Course evaluations for Surgery for Engineers and Engineering in Medicine from previous offerings demonstrate the effectiveness of these courses. A course evaluation for Precision Medicine for Engineers will be completed after the initial offering of the course in Fall 2016.

Zapanta, C. M., & Edington, H. D., & Empey, P. E., & Whitcomb, D. C., & Rosenbloom, A. J. (2017, June), Board # 18 :Clinical Immersion in a Classroom Setting (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27799

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015