Five Biomedical Engineering students from Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University, including two Emirati students, have flown to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Children’s National Medical Center’s annual Student Innovators Program, a program sponsored by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. The students were selected alongside 23 others from universities around the world, and will have access to world-class pediatric healthcare facilities and educational opportunities at the Sheikh Zayed Institute. The Program provides hands-on exposure for students to innovative treatments, and research devices under development at the Institute. This is the second consecutive year that students from the United Arab Emirates have been selected to participate in the international program.
Eiman Hammoudi (Emirati), Shatha Alwahhabi (Emirati), Zainab Moazzam (Pakistani), Enas Osman (Sudanese) and Noaf Al Wahab (Iraqi) will spend two months at Washington, D.C.’s leading pediatric hospital, Children’s National Medical Center, which is also home to the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation which was founded in September 2009 thanks to a generous gift of $150 million from the government of Abu Dhabi.
The Student Innovators Program is also funded by the gift donated by the government of Abu Dhabi and is an extension of the shared vision to significantly, and measurably, advance medical innovation to create healthier and safer surgical outcomes for children worldwide. The program curriculum is designed to provide students with insight into the innovation process in pediatrics, familiarize them with the culture of innovation at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, and is in alignment with the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 to develop a knowledge economy in the healthcare sector.
Last year’s Program saw two students from the UAE - also from Khalifa University - join 13 other students from around the world. By hosting the students from Khalifa University, the Institute hopes to build even greater knowledge sharing and transfer between Children’s National Medical Center and the UAE.
Dr. Peter Kim, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute said: “During their two-month stay here in Washington we want the students to not only gain further insight into the innovation behind pediatric healthcare, but for them to take back skills and knowledge that will help to build the spirit of vision and creativity when devising solutions for challenges that they might come across in their chosen fields. With these students, we share a commitment to improving the lives of children everywhere by integrating the power of biomedical engineering, healthcare, science and technology to make treatments more precise for children. We are confident that these innovators will help contribute to the vision and goals of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, and we look forward to enriching this experience for them throughout the summer.”
The students will be working on a number of well-defined projects with institute physician-scientists and bioengineers, focusing on innovation theory and practice applied within pediatric medicine. The program will give them access to topics such as creativity, brainstorming, team-building, intellectual property, and product development in pediatric healthcare. The content of all the projects the students will be engaged in is based on current research in bioengineering, surgical issues, medicine, biological sciences, and innovation management.
Another major feature of this summer’s program is a three-day ‘Medical Hack-a-thon’ where the students are asked to design a mobile app that effectively addresses the challenges of childhood obesity. It is hoped that one or more of the ideas from the 28 students will be suitable for further exploration and development.
Dr. Bayan Sharif, Khalifa University’s Dean of the College of Engineering said: “We are very pleased that our students are attending this program. Khalifa University is dedicated to providing the best education opportunities available to our students, which means involvement in programs like this one. Our students will certainly make the most out of this program, and come back with wonderful memories, increased knowledge of their field and vitally important contacts with peers and academics from around the world.”
Emirati Biomedical Engineering student, Shatha Alwahhabi said: “All of us are very excited about the program. Regardless of our final chosen fields, we want to look at ways to improve the lives of children in the UAE, and the wider region. The way Children’s National Medical Center approaches this is through innovation in technology and thought-processes. We are hoping that we can take back new ideas and techniques that will help many adults and children here in the UAE.”
The Sheikh Zayed Institute was created as a global model for healthcare innovation in pediatrics, which aims to build an ecosystem where care, education, and research work simultaneously together.
The Institute is the first pediatric institution in the world to implement this model of innovation. The Institute’s work has already led to a breakthrough in pain management for children who suffer from long-term pain, and leading research is underway in areas including; immunology, research and development, and understanding the genetic impact of diseases.
Sheikh Zayed Institute physicians, engineers and researchers also work side by side with other clinical experts from Children’s National to translate research findings into areas of care that have potential for global impact. Additionally, every year, Children’s National Medical Center provides care for children from more than 20 countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.