Dr. Wolfgang Gilliar Introduces New Technology into Medical School Curriculum
Dr. Wolfgang Gilliar Leading Touro University Nevada’s College of Osteopathic Medicine into the Future By Integrating New Technology into Curriculum New Portable Ultrasounds Allow Medical Students to Gain Critical Knowledge and Experience
Since arriving as Dean of Touro University Nevada’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in January 2019, Dr. Wolfgang Gilliar has been focused on making sure that today’s medical students are ready for an increasingly technological world.
“As the future faces of medicine, it is important for our students to be comfortable with technology,” he says. “At Touro, we are doing everything we can to integrate new healthcare technology into our curriculum.”
Last October, Touro announced a partnership with Vave Health to become the first medical school in the U.S. to provide new, portable ultrasound devices to its second, third, and fourth-year medical students as part of their personal toolbox. These ultra-portable ultrasound devices no longer have any wires, leads, or cords. They work directly with everyone’s smart phone through cloud-based applications.
“We are proud to be the first medical school committed to bringing this path-breaking technology to our students. This is just the beginning of a wonderful, lasting relationship with Vave Health,” Dr. Gilliar says. “This is going to transform the way our students learn, particularly in the lab setting and in their various clinical rotations. Ultimately, it will enable our students to more efficiently and effectively serve the communities they live in, no matter where their medical careers take them next.”
Dr. Gilliar predicts that, like the stethoscope, the portable ultrasound will become an ever-increasing and important tool for physicians. Integrating the portable ultrasounds into the medical school curriculum will allow Touro’s medical students to enhance their education while gaining critical, hands-on experience in the community.
Touro’s students are already using these portable ultrasounds to provide much-needed care to Southern Nevadans. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the healthcare inequities felt by lower socio-economic populations around the world and Dr. Gilliar hopes his students, equipped with portable ultrasounds and their smart phones, can help assuage those needs for the Las Vegas Valley’s most vulnerable populations.
“Access to healthcare, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been limited for millions of people around the world,” Dr. Gilliar says. “Having these portable ultrasounds in their pockets allows our students to go directly to the populations who need it most. These populations don’t have to go to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound because our students can come to them and do it right there at the point of contact.”
Touro University Nevada is hoping its portable ultrasounds will also help develop more partnerships that will have a significant impact on the community.
Recently, the university secured a three-year, $2.6 million grant from the United Health Foundation to help reduce maternal health disparities and increase the state’s OB-GYN and family medicine physician workforce. As part of the new partnership, Touro will bring free prenatal screenings and care to underserved women in Nevada, using Touro’s Mobile Healthcare Clinic, which is equipped with the handheld ultrasound devices and staffed by Touro physicians, medical students, and staff.
The funding will also support medical student education, including the development of new medical school curriculum to provide hands-on prenatal care education from the first year onward within the medical school. This partnership will directly impact the Southern Nevada community while improving the education of Touro’s medical students.
“This technology benefits our students while also benefitting the community,” Dr. Gilliar says. “Our students get the critical, hands-on training they need as future physicians, and the populations who are desperate for healthcare receive the care they’ve been longing for. It is a win-win situation.”
Medicine is no longer an ‘isolated’ island of professional practice. Medicine is teamwork, a collaborative between professional dedication and a social mission. Technology can serve as a connector in ways that may be unexpected.
While many people may be afraid of the non-human ‘touch’ that modern technology brings, Dr. Gilliar and his team feel that technology will enhance the physician’s work in ways not yet fathomed.
“When we use technology in a wise and meaningful way, it will always support the art and science of medicine rather than supplanting it,” he says. “Technology is a catalyst. We just need to find what makes the ‘secret sauce’ to bring the patient and physician together in a spirit of community, so that healing can truly happen. Caring and healing are at the center of the work we do; technology is our supporter.”
874 American Pacific Drive,
Henderson, NV 89014
702-777-3100 | www.tun.touro.edu