Mastering the medical ‘wave’ of the future

June 05, 2012
Students from all over California learn hand-held ultrasound techniques at UltraFest 2012, training on both human subjects and lifelike mannequins. Photo: Peter Huynh / University Communications

When Kiah Bertoglio was helping arrange UC Irvine’s UltraFest 2012, she figured that about 30 medical students—40, tops—would come to learn how to use portable, hand-held ultrasound devices to peer into the human body in a way they’d never done before.

Imagine her surprise when more than 200 medical, osteopathic and physician assistant students from 14 schools around the state streamed into the Medical Education Building to be trained in a technology that UC Irvine faculty believe will be an important part of medicine’s future.

“The students love working with the ultrasound,” says Dr. Chris Fox, professor of emergency medicine and director of instructional ultrasound. “They see this as a value added to their education, an extra skill set that empowers them.”

UC Irvine’s medical school is the only one in California to include this cutting-edge technology in its curriculum and one of the first in the nation, he says. Currently utilized mainly in emergency medicine, ultrasound could eventually change how all physicians diagnose their patients.

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