Updated Tuesday,30May2023-16:31

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Without an instruction book and with the fear of responsibility that a small life depends on oneself. This is how you deal with the onset of parenthood. Only those who have been through it know that strange feeling. Going well with a pregnancy without problems, having a nice delivery and leaving the hospital with a healthy baby in your arms nothing ensures that, before any small anomaly, one runs to the pediatrician's office.

A cry of more, eat less, sleep more, rest little ... There is no more sensible manual than a mother and father who have previously been so. But there are situations in which the experience of a first-time parenthood is worthless. Of the paediatric patients discharged, one in five suffers some type of complication when returning home. Therefore, leaving the hospital trained to act is a great help.

Ready.Sim.Go. is a training program with pediatric simulators, finalist of the Fundación MAPFRE Awards for Social Innovation, created for this purpose. Behind this platform there is a great story of overcoming. A neonatologist who knows firsthand the needs of a patient of these characteristics and who can apply the vision of a medical professional to cover them.

Jennifer Arnold is an example of self-improvement at all levels. He wanted to study medicine and specialize in pediatrics by Dr. Steven E. Kopits, who inspired him while in college. "He is a passionate human being, so dedicated to the care of his patients that I admire him so much. And he was really the reason I wanted to go into medicine: to help children."

What's so special about Jennifer Arnold?

In a way, she's giving back the help she needed since birth. That's how he came to Neonatology. "I wanted to be able to care for babies from the beginning of their life and hopefully help them have a happy, healthy life." She didn't have it easy. From his mother's womb, he went to an ICU for a series of respiratory complications.

Arnold has a rare type of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia Strudwick type. Without this condition defining her, she has made her strong not without putting her to the test throughout her life. "I am very passionate about being a part of raising awareness about diversity and equitable inclusion in the medical profession." He claims and fights so that his illness is not a brake on anyone's work aspirations, but even more so in the health field. "Because I think it's one of the fields that's been slow to realize the value and benefits that people with disabilities can bring to health care."

I am very passionate about being part of raising awareness about diversity and equitable inclusion in the medical profession.

The social judgment to which people with their illness are subjected makes it take out its critical side. "It's a bit ironic since, as clinicians, our goal is to help people who have disabilities and chronic health conditions, whether they are life-threatening or just life-altering, and yet there has long been prejudice against the inclusion of people with disabilities."

He hasn't had it easy. But never, he insists, has he stopped trusting that he could do it. Step by step. Neither the 35 surgeries he had to undergo in childhood because of dysplasia, nor the rejection of almost 30 applications for admission to university. He only received two yeses. "Which is quite common in medicine because it's a very competitive field."

To qualify for a place at the American university, grades alone are not enough, you have to have a good cover letter. "You have to write a personal statement, an essay on why you want to go into medicine. Then, after you send it, you receive invitations to attend an interview; which is the final step before you are accepted."

He confesses that he turned to find the exact key. "I wasn't sure about the rejections, but I suspected it might be related to my disability." He explains that in his essay he argued that "the reason I wanted to go into medicine was that I had benefited as a patient of it all my life."

The reason I wanted to go into medicine was that I had benefited as a patient of it all my life.

Her dream was to be a surgeon, although later the inspiration led her to Neonatology. He began with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Psychology at the University of Miami in Florida. Later, he completed his medical degree at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

After seven years of training in immersive simulation, he now leads the Immersive Design Systems program at Boston Children's Hospital and directs the Ready.Sim.Go Simulation Program. "I love educating and I fell in love with the technique, the tool, the advantages that simulation provides for training. So I got involved very early in my career and got to run different simulation programs at different hospitals in the US."

A great vocation towards the care of babies

He recognizes that his vocation is to provide quality of life and security to new families after the birth of the baby. In each explanation there is not only passion for his work, but a deep knowledge of what he speaks. "I know how difficult it was for my parents to be able to handle situations when they took me home from the hospital. It's so scary that all you want is what's best for your child."

The platform for which Arnold is responsible seeks to train the families of babies by providing them with basic clinical knowledge and skills to care for the little ones at home after medical discharge. "We started with a pilot project when I was at Texas Children's Hospital and developed a training program for very high-risk babies who went home with a tracheostomy and a ventilator to breathe," he recalls of the beginning. "Children have long-term complications that challenge their families and may even suffer life-threatening emergencies when they are already home."

I know how hard it was for my parents to be able to handle situations when they took me home from the hospital.

Aware of the terror of facing a situation in which one must save the life of his son, Arnold bets on preparing for any eventuality. "They're going to be the first to respond." And through the platform it is endowed not only with how to do it, but with the assurance that it is being done well. "They have to save their son's life. And I thought it was crazy that we didn't give them the opportunity to practice those skills before they go home and not have to do it with their own child. That's how I got involved in developing simulation training for patients and families."

The teaching they propose is both theoretical and practical, through simulations that allow applying what has been learned in a comfortable and safe environment. The most practical part is done on mannequins, and Immersive Design Systems (IDS) works in its elaboration. "We've been developing all this equipment, but we hope to get a mannequin that's more user-friendly; so that we can help empower more patients and families and that more hospitals adopt this type of training."

The project has high expectations for expansion. It has set itself the goal of achieving the training of a hundred hospital clinicians with simulation by 2025 and involving five hundred patient families.

Arnold says IDS is a program at Boston Children's Hospital staffed by expert doctors, nurses, educators and engineers. Its research has used innovative technologies for more than 20 years to optimize healthcare and staff training. And this aspect is what has been recognized this week in Spain by the Mapfre Foundation.

Therefore, it will become part of the Innova Network. A community of entrepreneurs where the exchange of expert knowledge is encouraged, which allows access to different channels of promotion of their projects, which will help them to make themselves known. "At the moment we are only focused on the US, but I am aware that it can be very useful to many parents and clinicians around the world."

Jennifer Arnold, an informative television star

She also has a family. She met her husband Bill Kelin when she was 10 years old in the hospital. They have almost no secrets to the world, because much of their life is broadcast through the American reality show The Little Couple (available in Spain through DKISS). Since 2009, here is reflected what family life is like for both, and their two adopted children, Will and Zoey.

The small steps Arnold has taken have served to jump great obstacles and serve as an example for many. Therefore, in addition to the practice of Medicine, for which she has been awarded the Ray E. Helfer Award for innovation in medical education from the Academic Association of Pediatrics, she has been recognized as one of the voices sought after in inspirational talks.

"I hope to use my experiences as a patient, as a doctor, and also even doing television, to raise awareness about disability, diversity, equity and inclusion. It all relates to me, to my experience as a person with a disability and a medical condition. Everything has shaped me into who I am as a person."

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