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Barrow Neurological Institute Tour

Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is truly an amazing place for research, treatment, recovery. 

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of joining Mrs. Jana Earnest, Development Officer with BNI, for a “behind the scenes” tour. We began our morning with CEO & President,Dr. Michael Lawton who welcomed us and shared his thoughts about the growth and development of BNI. We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet with him.

Our first stop was the Barrow Innovation Center to see how they are using special 3D printers to create exact models of the spines, hips, skulls and other bone structures of actual patients, for their doctors to examine prior to surgery. Engineer, Ms. Sarah McBryan, explained the process of making the models and the continual improvements in 3D technology. We also learned the use of these custom-made models is fairly new, but the positive feedback from the doctors using them suggests that this technology is improving patient outcomes. Next, we visited the Publications & Illustrations department and met Mr. Mark Shornak, Senior Medical Illustrator, who guided us through his department of award-winning illustrators. They produce original artwork for journal articles, books, PowerPoint presentations, videos, animations, and websites. These talented professionals all completed graduate degrees with emphasis in neuroanatomy and visual communication solutions along with a special certification in medical illustration. They showed us some of the beautiful and complex projects they were working on – from the illustration of body parts; to 3D video of a brain surgery; to a virtual reality surgery device. We could have spent several more hours learning about all of the amazing things these groups were working on – but we had more to see! 

We moved on to the Neuro Rehabilitation Center and Ms. Luann Williams, Neuro Rehabilitation Manager, showed us inspiring and innovative technologies. We witnessed a stroke patient, who was outfitted with an Ekso GT, a wearable robotic exoskeleton, designed to assist him in relearning correct step patterns and weight shifts involved in walking as he moved up and down a long hallway. The Ekso GT enables patients to markedly increase the number of quality, consecutive steps during therapy. We watched a young man who had experienced a spinal injury “rehabbing” on a high-tech treadmill called The Zeno Walkway. This oversized treadmill was detecting and collecting pressure data as he was walking on it, identifying any walking difficulties in real time to be addressed by his therapist. The machine was analyzing more than 100 measurements per second! The patient and the therapist were both working hard, but they seemed to be enjoying their time.  There were many other state-of-the-art technologies being used in the rehab center – and all of it fascinating.

Lastly, Mr. Trent Maruyama, Rehabilitation Program Coordinator, explained how Barrow is using a vehicle called The Terrain Hopper. It is an off-terrain vehicle that allows people with disabilities or mobility issues to venture all types of unpaved terrain.

What a terrific experience.  We are so grateful to Mrs. Jana Earnest and Mrs. Katie Cobb for setting up this incredible tour – and we are looking forward to hosting the “To Infinity and Barrow Beyond” event at our hangars at Scottsdale Airport coming up in November. The event is an opportunity for attendees to see some of these technologies up close and hear directly from the world-class BNI doctors. This is an invitation-only event for Pinnacle Aviation clients and the members of Barrow Beyond.  If you did not receive the Save the Date email and would like to attend the event, please contact Orin Anderson ([email protected] or 480-717-2783) for the information.

More about BNI from their website:

Since opening its doors as a regional specialty center in 1962, Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. The experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists provides a complete spectrum of care – from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation – under one roof.

Barrow is a sought-after destination hospital for patients with the most complex neurological cases in the world. The institute is also known as a leader in neuroscience education, housing the largest neurosurgical residency and fellowship programs in the United States and training more neurosurgeons than anywhere in the world. Barrow performs more brain surgeries than any other hospital in the United States. The institute is also home to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

U.S. News & World Report ranked U.S. hospitals in 16 specialties. The publication selects hospitals based on a variety of criteria including reputation, mortality rates, patient volume, and key technologies.

The institute performs more neurosurgical procedures annually than anywhere in the United States. U.S. News & World Report routinely lists St. Joseph’s as one of the best hospitals in the nation for neurological and neurosurgical care. BNI’s mission is to advance the knowledge and practice of medicine in neuroscience through basic and clinical research, education of medical professionals, and innovation in clinical techniques and technology.

To view photos from the tour click here

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