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Dr. Michael Gordon’s Harvey, a life-sized mannequin, breathes new life into health care- provider training.

At first, no one thought much of Harvey, the brainchild of Dr. Michael S. Gordon ’59 COM, MD ’61 COM, MS ’61 COM.

The year was 1966, when medical interns and residents generally learned by the “follow-me” method—making the rounds with seasoned physicians who encouraged their young students to deal with patients hands-on.

So Harvey, a full-sized mannequin capable of simulating a handful of cardiopulmonary conditions, was considered hands-off.

“I was told by my mentors—the same educators who had been patting me on the back over the years—‘Don’t let technology get in the way of training,’” recalls Gordon, currently associate dean for research in medical education at the University of Miami (Fla.) Miller School of Medicine, as well as director of the school’s Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education.

A professor of cardiology at the Miller School of Medicine at the time, Gordon wasn’t easily dissuaded. He created Har­vey to simulate cardiac symptoms that students and physicians might not encounter routinely.

“My thinking was, ‘How can I make a real contribution to the world?’” says Gordon. “And the answer was to develop research and educational tools that complemented the ‘follow-me’ method, as it came to be known, and which remains the best way to learn medicine.

“My own career was shaped by mentors,” he continues, referring in particular to Norman Alpert, a UIC professor of physiology “who taught me everything I needed to make my dreams come true: discipline, persistence and tenacity.”

Gordon’s tenacity paid off. The world caught up. Today, Harvey serves not only as the beating heart of GCRME, a 34,000-square-foot laboratory designed for the application of advanced technology for medical students, physicians, paramedics and firefighters, but also as the lifeblood of a curriculum known as Umedic Computer Curriculum and Emergency Medical Skills Training, which Gordon developed in the 1970s.

Once again, he was met by naysayers. And, once again, he remained undeterred. “They said to me, ‘Don’t you have books?’” Gordon says. “But I envisioned computer programs so interactive and stimulating [that] they pulled you into the worlds of cardiology and neurology.” 

Since then, more than 350 medical centers worldwide have availed themselves of the learning opportunities that Harvey and Umedic provide.

In addition, emergency skills programs at GCRME annually train more than 20,000 registrants in managing situations that involve cardiac, pediatric, trauma, airway, hazardous materials and stroke conditions. In all, more than 1,700 agencies worldwide utilize curricula developed by GCRME.

—John Gregerson


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