The silo academic structure necessary for specialization and depth in learning specific disciplines is detrimental to learning the applicatio of those skills to real-world applications, typically learned in the Design component of the education. Unfortunately, senior design project instruction is often incorporated into the silo model and students work in single discipline project teams on well-defined projects that are focus on the specific discipline. There is a critical need to break this model and develop multidisciplinary undergraduate design teams to meet healthcare needs. The current Case Western Reserve University design curriculum is based on the federal regulations for medical device design controls (21CFR820.30) and the regulatory controls for medical devices as controlled and enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Projects that provide the most satisfaction to the BME students are those that directly interact with the clinical environment. Common feedback from clinical project sponsors, however, is that the students were capable and motivated, but the biggest challenge was getting them to understand the realities of the clinical environment. Hands-on experience is a strong catalyst for active learning but waiting until the senior year to introduce a design experience misses the opportunity to engage the students early in their educational development. In this project we will enhance the Case design curriculum through three specific aims.
Aim 1 is to develop and implement a CSE multi-disciplinary senior design course. The center piece of the course will be a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary design experience.
Aim 2 is to establish an immersive clinical experience such that the students understand first-hand the needs and environment of healthcare projects.
Aim 3 is to introduce a hands-on, first-semester freshman design experience to biomedical engineering students. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the joy of engineering; understanding the constraints, goals, and ethics of biomedical design; and engage and motivate students for their BME education. In this project, we will enhance the current design program to create an active and engaging educational experience that starts in the freshman year and culminates with a multi-disciplinary senior design experience that prepares the students for maximum success in the theory and application of biomedical engineering.

Public Health Relevance

The discipline-specific partitioning of the traditional educational system is very successful in providing students with a rich and deep understanding of their fields of study. This provides a strong basis in the theory and didactic components of the education, but does not well represent the real-world application of that knowledge. To address this weaknesses, we propose three innovations to the Case Western Reserve University Biomedical Engineering design curriculum: introduce hands-on design into the freshman engineering experience to engage the students with engineering and promote active learning; provide a clinical immersion experience so students can directly experience the needs and constraints of engineering in healthcare for greater understanding; and create a true multi-disciplinary design course that has a structure based on real-world engineering teams. The changes introduced in this program will serve as models that can be implemented, or modified and implemented, in biomedical engineering curricula throughout the country.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-E (J1))
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Erim, Zeynep
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Case Western Reserve University
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
United States
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