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KU Neurosurgery outreach to local students highlights innovation

Interactive outreach event shows off latest in operating room tech

Faculty, residents and other volunteers in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Health System gave local high school and college students a glimpse of the technology and innovation in the operating rooms.

The inaugural "Innovation in Neurosurgery: Exploring Cutting-Edge Technology in the Operating Room," included 46 students from Olathe South High School, Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies and the University of Kansas engineering program.

The purpose of the half-day interactive event was to expose participants to the possibilities that exist in healthcare related careers.

"While I was in high school I knew I wanted to become a doctor. It was mostly because I loved science and wanted to help people. At the time, I had no idea what other possibilities in healthcare existed," said Sarah Woodrow, M.D., a neurosurgeon with The University of Kansas Health System and assistant professor in Department of Neurosurgery at KU Medical Center who spearheaded the event. "My hope was to encourage students to explore avenues outside of standard career pathways, recognize the importance of collaboration between different fields and inspire them to pursue their dreams."

More than a dozen volunteers helped with the effort, including seven neurosurgery residents, other department faculty physicians, nurses, and operating room staff and engineers.

Students learned about safety features on some basic operating room equipment, worked with various tools the neurosurgical team uses daily such as operating room microscopes and spinal instrumentation, and watched demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies such as robotics and neuronavigation that are making surgeries safer and better for patients.

"The students were all incredibly excited by what they saw in the OR and inspired by it. To say the day was a tremendous success is probably an understatement. It was amazing to see their reactions as they explored this technology for the first time," Woodrow said. "I think one of the roles of any profession is to inspire the next generation. We are in a unique and privileged position as health care professionals and in neurosurgery specifically. Inspiring students to consider anything related to our field can only make it stronger."

The April 27 workshop was held in operating rooms in Cambridge Tower A at The University of Kansas Health System.

Department of Neurosurgery

University of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Mailstop 3021
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-0356
Fax: 913-588-6061