The Dane G. Hanson Foundation brings technology to bear on health

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Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Fort Hays State University’s Department of Allied Health recently acquired technology that will better prepare students for their chosen careers. FHSU provided an additional $75,000 for this project and its implementation.

At Fort Hays State University, providing students with the latest technologies and training is central to its mission to foster innovation. The new technology impacts many areas of medical imaging and includes full-body, radiologic imaging mannequins and wireless digital plate for radiographic equipment. In addition, they have access to MRI and CT training and simulation software and several sonographic tissue-mimicking phantoms for simulation. Working with phantoms provides real-life, hands-on learning and allows students to hone their skills before working with live patients.

Allied Health’s oldest radiography unit in the department has been upgraded to include new digital capabilities. The new simulation training software allows students to practice magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) skills in the classroom. In addition to helping students hone their skills, this simulation software allows online students participating in the department’s MRI certificate program to imagine being in a clinical setting anywhere in the world.

Previously, the department had only one radiographic mannequin to practice imaging technology, which began to deteriorate due to wear and tear. In addition to his age, the old mannequin was limited in his ability to move to some places. Coming later this year, the new mannequin will be fully articulated allowing students to move the legs, head and body like a real patient.

Students interested in working with sonography or ultrasound can now practice on new tissue simulation phantoms that include a full abdominal model, models for different stages of pregnancy, and breast imaging. These blasts replicate real tissue and allow students to experience a variety of situations they frequently encounter in the field. Phantoms simulate a real pregnancy for students looking for fetal imaging.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, students were unable to practice without obstetrics and gynecology patients, a vital tool to carry out their training. By acquiring new technology, students no longer need to rely solely on guest speakers to practice their skills. The expansion of training tools also allows more students in laboratory courses to practice than ever before.

Associate Professor and Associate Health Department Chair Brenda Huppingarner said the new equipment allows Fort Hays State University students to gain more real-life experience on campus, making the transition to the clinical setting easier.

“Since students have limited time working in a clinical facility, these tissue-like phantoms and radiography mannequins allow students to increase the efficiency and speed of their learning here on campus,” Huppingarner says.

Huppingarner emphasized that the new technology, in addition to talented faculty and staff, will give students an opportunity “second to none” at FHSU.

“We want our graduates to come in and have the critical resources to succeed in their degree programs. Our training and equipment will make them very effective so that when they enter the field, they graduate and go into the field and work as graduates,” she said.

The Department of Allied Health at FHSU offers several highly competitive on-campus and online programs that train students for careers in medical diagnostic imaging. The technology purchased with this funding will produce highly qualified and accredited medical imaging professionals dedicated to the Northwest Kansas region.

To learn about the Department of Allied Health at Fort Hays State University, visit fhsu.edu/alliedhealth.



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