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Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science

Thinking about becoming a doctor, a nurse, or just simply going into the medical field? Then you might want to consider being a part of the Biomedical Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program at your high school. Biomedical PLTW is an innovative educational program that is designed to introduce students who are in high school to careers in healthcare and biomedical science. The PLTW biomedical science curriculum is distributed into a pathway with four classes that build on each other. The four classes are Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS), Human Body Systems (HBS), Medical Interventions (MI), and Biomedical Innovations (BI).

The first class is Principles of Biomedical Science. This course provides foundational knowledge and skills to students who are entering the biomedical science pathway. It covers content in the fields of anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology, biology, and epidemiology. Students are placed into numerous real-world situations where they are asked to solve specific cases and problems. The technical documentation that is used to portray experimental findings and solutions to these given problems is also taught. There are four main units in this first-year class. These units include medical investigation, clinical care, outbreaks and emergencies, and innovations. Medical investigation will have a real-world problem that will take many skills such as forensics to investigate, clinical care will show and teach common methods of care, outbreaks, and emergencies will teach about things such as pandemics, and lastly, innovations will teach about upcoming and current innovations in the medical field. A few of the laboratory skills a student will learn include DNA extraction, karyotyping, and blood typing. If a student is unsure about whether or not they want to pursue medicine this is the perfect class for them to see if their interest truly lies in medicine as numerous fields will be explored and many career choices will be displayed.

The second class in the line of the PLTW biomedical science classes is Human Body Systems. This course goes further into the foundations provided by the previous course, Principles of Biomedical Science. It goes to explore fields like clinical medicine, anatomy, physiology, and laboratory research. Similarly, to PBS, HBS also puts students into real-world situations, problems, and cases. There are a multitude of engaging activities for students to partake in such as interviews and testimonials from biomedical professionals. When tackling these real-world problems students will learn skills such as ethical reasoning and clinical empathy. Some of the major skills students will learn include micro pipetting, aseptic technique, and gel electrophoresis. There are again 4 main units in the coursework of human body systems. These four units include The Road to Rehabilitation, Research Ready, the Adventure of aids, and Patient Perspectives. Road to rehabilitation focuses on helping patients with injury or illness get back to leading their everyday lives. This entails students exploring skeletal and muscular systems to gain knowledge about rehabilitation. Research focuses on exploring how the brain and other areas of the nervous system change as a person ages and the process of the endocrine system. Adventure Awaits focuses on activities in remote environments where the health risks of travelers are asked to be identified. Patient perspectives take the stories of real patients to investigate the function as well as the structure of the urinary and digestive systems. Overall, HBS covers many topics that show how the body and the systems within the bodywork.

The third class in the line of classes is Medical Interventions. This class allows students to explore a variety of interventions that are used for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Through the study of these numerous interventions, the fields of surgery, immunology, pharmacology, and genetics will be explored. Preventative measures and lifestyle choices are emphasized along with how engineering design plays a role in the development of interventions for the future. Some of the key laboratory skills that will be learned in this class include restriction enzyme digest, bacterial transformation, and protein gel electrophoresis. Once again there are 4 units in the curriculum of medical interventions which include how to fight infection, how to screen what is in your genes, how to conquer cancer, and how to prevail when organs fail. The first unit, how to fight infection, explores the case of Sue who has an unknown infectious disease. In this unit hearing impairment, use of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and vaccines are studied. In the second unit, how to screen what is in your genes, how to screen and evaluate DNA code, and the value of prenatal care are studied. This will then lead to the study of the future of genetic technology later in the unit. The third unit, how to conquer cancer, will study cancerous cells linking this to how to prevent cancer and its risk factors. It will also study the design process of prosthetics (used for rehabilitation), nanotechnology, and new medicine. The 4th and final unit, how to Prevail when organs fail, will explore blood pressure regulation and protein production. It will also look at organ donation and transplantation, noninvasive surgery techniques, and dialysis. Overall, MI looks at the numerous interventions in the medical field today and possible ones that will be added in the future.

The final class in this lineup of Project Lead the Way biomedical science classes is biomedical innovations. This course allows students to design solutions that are innovative for the health challenges in the 21st century. They will look at fields such as physiology, biomedical engineering, clinical medicine, and public health. With this being the 4th and final course in the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science pathway students will work with all of the content they have learned in the past three years in order to exhibit unique problem-solving. Students will have an independent project they can choose to work with a mentor or advisor from a specific industry. Instead of having units like the previous courses, biomedical innovations has eight problems that students are asked to solve. The first problem is to design an effective emergency room where they will try to get rid of the inefficiencies that may hinder clinical care. The second problem is exploring human physiology where students will learn how to conduct valid and reliable studies. The third problem is the design of a medical innovation where students will review diseases and disorders that they have learned about previously and the current intervention used to treat them and then propose a new or better one. The fourth problem is investigating environmental health where they will explore how substances and chemicals in the environment impact the health of a human. The fifth problem is combating a public health issue where students will be asked to work through one epidemiology study. The 6th problem is molecular biology in action where students will design and run through a protocol to construct and then clone recombinant DNA. The 7th problem is forensic autopsy where students will examine a fetal pig with the protocol of how a human autopsy would be performed. The last problem is the independent project where students will work on a long-term open-ended question piercing together the skills they have learned in the previous classes. This class provides an opportunity for students to really connect with the real world and possibly even bring about a new innovation

Ultimately, all these classes build essential skills that are critical in the health field and allow the exploration of numerous careers in medicine. They can be an excellent way to discover what you are passionate about and which career or major is best fit for you.

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