New Exhibit Highlights Medical Inventions
OSF Innovation Prominently Featured
What do you think is the medical invention that changed the world?
That’s the question being posed to visitors of the Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois as it hosts an exhibition, “10 Medical Inventions That Changed the World,” celebrating medical and healthcare innovations and their benefits for humanity.
The exhibition features hundreds of artifacts, including several from OSF HealthCare. Among them -- 3D Printed Organs and Virtual Reality Technology from Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center. The exhibit that opened last month also includes Ella Fitzgerald’s glasses on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mayo Clinic’s first heart-lung machine, and medical antiquities from Colonial Williamsburg.
Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Bill Conger says Peoria is the perfect location for the exhibit because the city has been the site of many medical breakthroughs such as penicillin, invented in the early 1940s at what is now the National Center for Agriculture Utilization Research in Peoria.
Dr. John Vozenilek, vice president and chief medical officer of Jump Simulation and Education, says contributions from Jump represent technology being used to better train health care providers and improve patient care. You can see 3D printed hearts made from an individual’s medical images to reveal intricate details through multiple layers.
Virtual reality images which are demonstrated with an interactive hands-on screen show how that technology can take treatment to another level.
“As you look at the image in virtual reality it’s sometimes better and easier because you can expand that model. You can make it as big as this room and actually walk through the structures of the heart.”
“As you look at the image in virtual reality it’s sometimes better and easier because you can expand that model. You can make it as big as this room and actually walk through the structures of the heart.”Vozenilek added, “So, the algorithms to move that forward, the technologies behind it, the technologies to make it better, faster, more accurate; those are all things Jump has really invested in.”
Bill Conger says the latest equipment and technology are fascinating parts of the exhibit but it’s important to show the evolution of medical care so items from as far back as the 18th century are on display.
“We also present things such as you know, a key that would remove an infected tooth from the 1800s, which looks a little more rugged, but no less an invention and no less helpful in its day,” he said.
Vozenilek points out the evolution of a medical solution, at times, took decades. For example, he says it took 80 years for practitioners to figure out Vitamin C could prevent and treat scurvy, a disease that has been around since ancient times and that was often seen in sailors.
But, in the digital age, Vozenilek says innovation is happening at lighting speed.
“What we’re seeing is the creative people that are out there are able to bring in Technology A, pair it to Technology B; all researchable, all immediately available, gives great expansion of discovery. And, so what we’re seeing here is just a rapid expansion of new ideas and solutions.”
Conger believes the exhibit highlights a strong connection between faith-based organizations such as OSF HealthCare and medicine and how those collaborations have driven health care innovations in Peoria that spread, in some cases, to the rest of the world.
“Saint Francis Hospital, in the 1960s with its breakthrough of the first neo-natal transport years before there was even a study done in the country to assess whether a helicopter transport would be effective in the country or not … we’ve led in so many ways.”
Museum visitors will have a chance inside the exhibit to vote for their choice for top 10 medical inventions and they can view live results being tabulated over the course of the exhibition.
Conger says so far, the newer inventions, developed in the last few decades, seem to be the most popular among visitors and OSF HealthCare is behind many. But he thinks ultimately, older ones with the significant impact could win out.
“Dr. Jim McGee at OSF has provided us items to tell the story of brachytherapy and radiation. The list goes on and on but I think it’ll be some of the more moderate implements that rise to the top, yeah.”
Vozenilek is excited about the future of health care. He sees a big advancement coming in regenerative medicine which uses the body’s own cells to grow new tissue and eventually organs for transplant. He’s particularly thrilled about the role 3D imaging, perfected at Jump, will play in inspiring scientists, engineers, doctors and even visitors to the simulation and education center to become medical innovators.
The “10 Medical Inventions That Changed the World” exhibit continues at the Peoria Riverfront Museum until April 28.
A panel discussion about the future of medicine featuring OSF HealthCare leaders will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28. It is free and open to the public.