Tippecanoe County School Corporation
Biomedical Innovations at McCutcheon High School
McCutcheon High School is preparing students to continue their education in biomedical sciences, one of the fastest growing careers in the country. The TSC’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program partners with Indiana University Health Arnett, Cook Research Inc., and other local businesses to give students insights into the industry.
Teacher Abi Bymaster leads the biomedical sciences program with a hands-on curriculum that raises awareness in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) protocols that apply to allied health sciences.
The program begins by introducing students to concepts of biology and medicine with an exercise in determining the factors that led to the death of a fictional person. During the following two years, students study human-body systems and medical interventions. The program culminates with Biomedical Innovations, where students are actively involved in managing projects that use teamwork and problem-solving skills to explore the impact of the Ebola epidemic on emergency departments across the country and other current issues.
A behind-the-scenes look at the IU Health Arnett Emergency Department in Lafayette affirmed senior Daniel Scott’s plans to attend Purdue University to study health and human sciences. “Seeing how physicians operate in that environment was a great experience,” he says. “To most people it may have looked like chaos when several trauma cases came in, but it was actually very organized and everyone played an important role in taking care of the patients.”
Cook Research Inc., West Lafayette, hosts the biomedical students to explore a variety of medical interventions, such as stents and guide wires, used to treat various heart conditions. The presentation emphasizes the multifaceted approach to designing medical interventions that involves the scientist, the anatomist, the engineer, the physician, and of course, the patient.
Cook Research Human Resources Generalist Tyler Tatlock says his company and the McCutcheon students benefit from the partnership: “Students are able to tie their education and training into potential careers, and Cook is able to encourage students to become scientists and engineers while sharing our passion and excitement for helping patients.”
“Most students don’t get to do the things we do, as far as field trips and lab work,” says senior Sydney Blann. “At the research facility, we held pig intestines and learned how they can be used to treat wounds.” Sydney is also planning to attend Purdue to pursue a career in the medical field.
Bymaster says the biomedical sciences program exposes students to careers, opportunities and knowledge they might not otherwise glean from a high school course. “Some students are geared for medical school, while others are geared toward an associate’s degree. Regardless, we need all types of people in the allied health field and this program is a hands-on opportunity to experience that.”
Contributed by Sue Scott