"These Are The People We Design For" - Dalanda Jalloh, '12, on M.Eng Immersion Program
"These are the people we design for", says Cornell BME M.Eng student after hospital immersion program.
“It was amazing to see doctors and surgeons interacting with each other, the rest of the medical team, patients, and tools,” says Dalanda Jalloh (Cornell Engineering ’12) reflecting on her immersion last semester at Robert Packer Clinical Research Foundation and Hospital, located in Sayre, PA, as part of her one-year Masters in Biomedical Engineering.
A special feature of Cornell BME’s M. Eng. programs is that students relocate from the main campus in Ithaca to either Sayre, PA or Cortland, NY to shadow doctors and surgeons in leading hospitals affiliated with the university. Immersion exposes these engineering students to how tools developed by engineers are used with actual patients in the hospital setting.
Dalanda was able to observe a range of surgeries, from a gastric bypass in cardio thoracic surgery, to removal of part of the colon in gastrointestinal surgery, to reconstruction of a shoulder rotary cup and knee reconstruction in orthopedics. What struck Dalanda? “The circulating nurses have a table with hundreds of tools and they need to know exactly which ones to hand to the doctor and to keep track of all of them.”
Dalanda says she is drawn to Biomedical Engineering because the population is getting older and there is growing demand to serve sick people and for machines and devices to make that care better. “I want to be the person making these devices more ergonomic, smaller, safer, easier to use.”
Her hospital immersion placed her among patients and gave her a good sense of the possibilities. “These are the people who we design for. Its more about them than the actual device.”
She continues, “There are so many specialists in so many different fields, and in each one medical devices go a long way. It would be good, for example, to make feeding devices even smaller so they don't have to be replaced so often or to make it easier to send images from one radiologist to another.”
Dalanda lauds Cornell’s BME program overall for doing “an excellent job in trying to push you to contribute to society. “ As she looks towards graduation in May, she says she is now focusing on finding a job. “I want to do some thing with my education, some thing useful, and there are so many ways to make an impact in this one field of Biomedical Engineering.”