Medical Robotics Technology Fair: First Advanced STEM Event for College and High School Students in Central Florida


The Nicholson Center has the latest in medical robotic technology and is home to Mimic Medical Education and Development Center (MimicMED) – Photo by Florida Hospital Nicholson Center

A group of non-profit organizations led by the Mt. Sinai Education Committee collaborated with medical robotic companies, local universities, colleges and high schools to conduct the first advanced STEM medical robotics fair at the state-of-the-art Nicholson Center in Celebration, FL. This fair is the first of its kind to have students “operate” on synthetic LifeLike BioTissue models after spending a few hours practicing on the latest robotic training simulators.

The two-day fair, one day for high school students and one day for college students, will provide college and high school students with rigorous hands-on and academic exposure to cutting edge robotic technology used in neurospine, urology, GYN/GYN Oncology, general, ENT, and cardiothoracic surgery. Students will observe roboticassisted procedures while watching 3D flat screen televisions that show what the console surgeon sees while operating the da Vinci® Surgical System. Then, they will conduct skill drill sessions in the Simulation Lab using the latest robotic simulators from Mimic Simulation, a company that created a standalone simulation trainer for the da Vinci System. Students will be divided into two groups: one group will plan and execute a spine procedure using the Mazor Robotics Renaissance Guidance System, and the other group will repair a heart valve with the da Vinci Surgical System.

A year ago, the Mt. Sinai Education Committee decided to create an event that would inspire college and high school students from all walks of life to pursue a STEM career in robotics. They recruited other non-profit organizations like the Links Incorporated, Central Florida Urban League, United Negro College Fund, Professional Opportunities Program for Students, and Community United Outreach to pursue this goal. This group of organizations contacted the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Valencia College, and Jones High School to participate in the inaugural event.

Inspiring students to pursue STEM careers, career fields that have a growing number of unfilled job opportunities, by exposing them to this incredible technology is the primary focus of this two day event. The Nicholson Center has the latest in medical robotic technology. The most recent robotic company to begin training surgeons at the Nicholson Center is Mazor Robotics. Their soda-can sized robotic spine surgery system enables surgeons to perform many different spine procedures with great accuracy including correcting scoliosis, a curved spine deformity, in children. Renaissance is also currently being used to help neurosurgeons place stimulator chips in the brains of patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, which is a procedure called deep brain stimulation. Parkinson’s has gained wider exposure through its most visible patient, Michael J. Fox.

Intuitive Surgical, Mazor Robotics, Mimic Simulations, Reach 3D Medical, LifeLike BioTissue and Minimally Invasive Solutions provided equipment access, hands-on experience, and robotic trainers and managers to conduct the sessions with the students.

More about the Mt. Sinai Education Committee
The Mt. Sinai Education Committee is a group of professionals, non-profit directors, educators, and business executives dedicated to improving the education opportunities for youth in the community. They are already planning the next robotic technology fair for mid-January 2014.