As part of the Monash Tech School’s Superhealth program, Year 9 students from participating schools are invited to tour facilities at 3 of the school’s partners; the Yakult Factory in Dandenong, the Hudson Institute as part of the Monash Health Translation Precinct in Clayton and the Holmesglen Simulation Centre in Moorabbin. These tours introduce students to the advanced technologies used in health sciences, and to prepare them for the program activities in the following two days of the program.
Students were guided through the Yakult Factory and received an explanation on the Yakult production process, from the production of the iconic plastic Yakult bottles to the ingredients used to make the fermented milk drink. Students learnt how the signature probiotic ingredient of Yakult is cultivated and added to Yakult, as well as the technologies and environments required in food production and testing. They saw the machinery and work conducted on the production and packaging line and were allowed a glimpse into the laboratory where Yakult sample and test their products for quality, as well as receiving a tasty free sample at the end!
At the next tour site, students were introduced to the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHPT), through a visit to the Hudson Institute, a medical research facility connected to Monash University and Monash Health. The Hudson Institute at MHTP host a variety of clinical trials and equipment for researchers to use. Students were introduced to microscopy, cell therapies and medical genomics looking at high-tech gene sequencing instruments, stem cell treatment trials on premature babies and experienced a “patient’s journey” from first seeing their GP to managing their condition. The visit allowed students to see first-hand how research in the medical field is done, but also how research results are used to develop new exciting treatments which improve the lives of patients.
The final tour stop was the Holmesglen Simulation Centre, where professionals in medical fields are trained in the human side of medicine using high-tech simulation aids and actors. The Year 9s were introduced to how technology can improve the patient experience by giving future nurses to practice in interacting with their patients. Realistic simulation aids can mimic potential patients in a zero-risk environment and allow health professionals to improve their practice. Students also had the opportunity to engage with an actor playing the role of the patient to better emphasis on health professionals.
Each tour site gave the Year 9 students a different perspective of how the health sector operates, as each of the facilities and technologies contributes to improving health outcomes in their own way but combined produce a comprehensive health opportunity for an individual. This relates directly to the heart of the ‘Superhealth’ program: students designing solutions to improve patient experiences of tomorrow.
written by Michael Meagher