While you can’t actually “buy” progress, and infrastructure alone can’t create innovation, having a technologically advanced research base with ample facilities can definitely help facilitate breakthroughs.
With that in mind, here’s a spotlight on some of the most technologically-advanced schools for – or including – medical research, in four key categories:
Number of computers
Northern Michigan University – which features a number of pre-med programs – boasts the highest student-to-computer ratio of any school in the country offering medical programs: 1:1.11.
The University of Central Missouri offers several nursing and medical technology degrees and skims just below the one-computer-per-student ratio (at 1:0.89)
Seton Hall University – which offers degrees in Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology – also has just under one computer on campus for every student (8,000 computers for 9,616 students: 1:0.83)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its various med schools – ranked as the most wired campus for several years by PC Magazine – has 70-100% Wi-Fi coverage indoors (though only about 1% coverage outside, on its 5,000 acre grounds.)
The University of Oklahoma gets top points for having close to 100% indoor wireless coverage and replaces on-campus lab computers every year. (University of Oklahoma won 10th place in a recent PC Magazine review and ranked #2 for most-wired among colleges with med schools.)
University of Utah – including its colleges of medicine and nursing – ranked 3rd for wireless penetration on two of the most recent surveys.
University of Rochester and Rochester General Hospital were one of the first facilities in America to begin widespread use of robotic surgery (specifically, with the da Vinci HD Surgical System.) While such procedures are no longer news items, the Rochester program currently ranks in the top 4% in America, having completed more than 3,000 robotic surgeries to date.
The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami is generally regarded as the #1 eye institute in the world. The teaching facility has been at the forefront of many recent breakthroughs in ophthalmology, including: Development of an effective treatment for retinopathy of prematurity afflicting premature infants (a blinding condition,) the first successful vitreous surgery (and invention of a miniature surgical instrument used for this surgery,) introduction of limbal cell transplantation therapy which can prevent corneal scarring, and identification of the herpes virus as the cause of Acute Retinal Necrosis.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. The second largest teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital houses state-of-the-art research facilities for women’s cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, and arthritis. Breakthroughs here have included the first successful heart valve surgery in the world performed on a 12-year-old girl, the Nobel-Prize-winning discovery that liver extracts can cure pernicious anemia (pernicious anemia was a fatal illness at the time) and the first successful human kidney transplant, taken from a twin brother (this also won researchers here a Nobel Prize.) The teaching facility also performed the world’s first intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system for neurosurgery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_and_Women’s_Hospital
Don’t let the 136-year-old main building fool you – the state-of-the-art hospital (and med school) at John’s Hopkins University has counted 37-Nobel Laureates as full-or-part-time students or staff. Between 1999 and 2009, Johns Hopkins was among the most cited institutions in the world. It attracted nearly 1,222,166 citations and produced 54,022 papers under its name last year, ranking #3 globally behind Harvard University and Max Planck Society. It is frequently listed as one of the most innovative medical facilities in the world. Oh yeah, and they helped NASA build the first and only space probe to Pluto.
While our snapshots above imply a look at colleges and universities, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the schools that are innovating at the high school level:
Classes at High Tech Los Angeles Charter High School, in Lake Balboa, California are set-up to maximize innovation and encourage a higher degree of self-direction than most public schools. Students interested in robotics can get a crack at the First Robotics national championships (a recruiting ground for the aerospace, engineering, health, and materials science industries.) http://www.ht-la.org/index2.jsp
Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Highlands, New Jersey. This high-end college prep school demands substantial lab and field work from students, who are tasked with completing intensive engineering, science (oceanography, marine and naval) and math courses to graduate. MAST’s campus boasts state-of-the-art technological laboratories specific to marine biology, oceanography, CAD, physics, chemistry, multimedia, marine technology, computers and more. (The school even owns its own research vessel.) http://www.mast.mcvsd.org/
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia features 14 completely different research laboratories, covering everything from astronomy to engineering materials and many other areas of science, health scientific, mathematics and more. To graduate, students must complete an engineering or science research project in a campus lab or an approved “mentor” facility. http://www.tjhsst.edu/