A new facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha will allow health care students to develop their skills in augmented reality and virtual reality. UNMC is welcoming its first class for the new EON Reality VR Innovation Academy, or VRIA.
“The EON Virtual Reality Innovation Academy at UNMC is an 11-month industry certificate program that teaches people how to engage in creating 3-D and virtual reality and augmented reality content,” said Dr. Pam Boyers associate vice chancellor of UNMC’s iEXCEL program.
The UNMC academy is one of five EON Reality facilities in the United States and one of 15 in the world. It’s the only one of its kind to be located on a medical campus. There are eighteen students enrolled in this year’s class.
“So the EON Virtual Reality Innovation Academy lasts about 11 months. The first 16 weeks of that are learning from very experienced instructors about how to create 3D images and how to manipulate them,” Boyers said. “The last months are spent creating and working with projects and those are very specialized projects. Some of those projects come in to use from industry and some of them will be health care projects. So that they learn how to actually work together as a team and how to create very, very interactive 3D models that can be used for training or for research.”
This facility will be run through UNMC’s iEXCEL program. iEXCEL stands for Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning. The program looks to enhance Nebraska by providing a transformative model for healthcare education, research and training.
Dr. Boyers, said this high-tech health care training will benefit the entire region.
“As IEXCEL begins to adopt virtual and augmented reality to educate health care professionals and to enhance their training we’re finding that it’s really hard to hire people locally. So one of the things the virtual immersive reality academy will do for us is it will help us to train people who can work with us to work in a much needed area in health care,” Boyers said.
The program will be focused heavily on simulation models to train students on how to take care of patients in a safe and professional manner. It’s also projected to generate more than $39 million annually in economic impact for Nebraska.