We developed our new Master’s program in translational medicine (first class enrolled in Fall 2015) with the primary goal of training students from diverse educational backgrounds in the core competencies required to successfully carry a medical technology from the lab bench through to the patient bedside. The curriculum is organized such that content from courses focused on the technical, clinical, business, and regulatory issues involved in the commercialization of biomedical technologies is synthesized into a group BioDesign project that spans the length of the program. The curriculum and BioDesign project are implemented in such a way that traditional didactic coursework is combined with opportunities for students to work directly with clinical and industry partners. We foresee that, over time, these clinical and industrial immersion opportunities will result in substantial job placement opportunities for our graduates.
The program is offered in a one-year Fall-Spring-Summer sequence. Each semester is anchored by a year-long design course in which students are introduced to key components of the biomedical technology development process from identification and screening of unmet clinical needs to fabrication of a working prototype and initial clinical evaluation. This design content is accompanied by courses in areas critical to bringing a medical technology to market: intellectual property, regulation, quality assurance, biomedical ethics, cost analysis, business leadership, and translational research design. This comprehensive curriculum allows the student to understand the device design process from technical, clinical, and business perspectives. At the conclusion of each semester, BioDesign project teams present progress updates to program faculty in a setting modeled after the Stage Gate process commonly used in industry.
We will ultimately evaluate the success of our program by the placement of our graduates into positions within their chosen academic, clinical, or industrial career settings. We envision the clinical and industrial immersion opportunities that we offer students throughout the program will be critical to successful job placement upon graduation. We offer these immersion opportunities in two primary ways. First, BioDesign projects to date have been sponsored by one of our clinical partner institutions and provided students with the means to engage these partners. In addition, we facilitate semester-long independent studies for students with local clinical and industry partners. These substantive (approximately 9 hours per week) opportunities provide students with practical experience that amplifies the training they receive throughout the program’s core curriculum and their BioDesign projects.
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