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Interdisciplinary Clinical Immersion: from Needs Identification to Concept Generation

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Clinical Learning Experiences in BME

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Anthony E. Felder University of Illinois, Chicago Orcid 16x16

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Anthony E. Felder is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Anthony's current focus is on undergraduate engineering education and its restructuring to better meet the diverse needs of students and industries. Accordingly, Anthony teaches a wide array of Bioengineering courses, from Introduction to BioE to Senior Design, Bioinstrumentation, and Cell and Tissue Engineering. Anthony is also active in ophthalmology research - having co-formed and currently serving as a Technical Director for the ophthalmology-based medical device design lab (ORBITLab) at the UIC Innovation Center. Anthony holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering.

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Miiri Kotche University of Illinois, Chicago

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Miiri Kotche is a Clinical Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently serves as Director of the Medical Accelerator for Devices Laboratory (MAD Lab) at the UIC Innovation Center. Prior to joining the faculty at UIC, she worked in new product development. She teaches capstone design courses, including the longstanding core senior design sequence and Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development. She also serves as co-Director of the Freshman Engineering Success Program, and is actively involved in engineering outreach for global health. Miiri received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.S. in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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Susan Stirling University of Illinois at Chicago

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Susan Stirling is a a designer, researcher and educator. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a graduate degree from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago she teaches Design Research Methods, Human Experience in Design and Interdisciplinary Product Development. Susan collaborates with non-design faculty to teach the design process, and helps students discover opportunities and solve problems with design. She is the co-instructor of the Clinical Immersion program in the Department of BioEngineering. Susan balances teaching with her professional career as a design researcher, consultant and strategist.

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Kimberlee M Wilkens University of Illinois at Chicago

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Kimberlee Wilkens is an alumna and instructor in the School of Design, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Industrial Design, with an affiliate position in the Department of Urology. Kimberlee’s drive for interdisciplinary collaboration has resulted in work within UIC’s Innovation Center as the dedicated design faculty and resource for many differing disciplines. Her involvement focuses on providing guidance and education on the research and development process for doctors, faculty, and students of all levels and backgrounds.

Kimberlee has had a significant impact on the world of design having developed products for many prominent brands such as McDonald's, Kraft, and Hefty. She recently started her own design studio: 5by5 design lab – a product development firm that services companies from around the world. Kimberlee balances out her research and professional pursuits through her design teaching – which has not only resulted in globally presented and award-winning student work, but has even been featured in the IDSA’s 2017 Educational Symposium, What’s Trending in ID Education?

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The development of medical devices is a tremendous challenge necessitating both a deep understanding of the user as well as interdisciplinary collaboration. The first step in the user-centered design process is needs identification, in which designers observe and empathize with stakeholders (e.g. patients, physicians, nurses) to identify unmet user needs both implicit and tacit. Historically, for engineering students, there has been a gap between understanding technical requirements and unmet user need. Commonly this gap arises from a lack of primary research, including observation and interviewing of relevant users prior to concept generation. To address this gap, the Richard and Loan Hill department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) developed a novel clinical immersion internship to introduce students to needs identification and user-centered design. In the first year of the Clinical Immersion Program (CIP), small teams consisting of undergraduate bioengineering students rotated through two, three-week long periods in varying clinical departments, where they worked together to methodically observe environments, interview users, and identify opportunities. In the third year of the CIP, we enhanced the needs identification process by transitioning to interdisciplinary teams of both bioengineering and second-year medical students. In this current study, we report on the fourth, and most recent, year of the CIP. Here, the program was expanded so that interdisciplinary student teams were immersed full-time in a single clinical environment for the duration of the program, which culminated in initial concept exploration based on the identified clinical needs. Efficacy of the CIP was assessed by mixed-method analysis surveys administered pre- and post-program. On a five-point Likert scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” (0 and 4, respectively), students scored 3.6 ± 0.5 in response to “I feel confident working with an interdisciplinary team” and 3.9 ± 0.3 to “needs identification is necessary for the development of medical products” according to the program surveys. Additionally, students indicated 3.5 ± 0.7 when prompted “early concept generation enhanced my experience in this program”. These scores indicate that students were towards strong agreement and responded well to the program changes this year.

Felder, A. E., & Kotche, M., & Stirling, S., & Wilkens, K. M. (2018, June), Interdisciplinary Clinical Immersion: from Needs Identification to Concept Generation Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30699

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