Medical school debuts free 3D printing pilot service

Media Credit: Precious Smith | Hatchet Photographer

A 3D printer was added to the Himmelfarb Library in the medical school’s flagship building late last month.

Medical faculty and students can now print three-dimensional anatomical structures, prosthetics and other objects for free in Ross Hall.

Officials said a 3D printer was added to the Himmelfarb Library in the medical school’s flagship building late last month and will allow students and faculty in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the School of Nursing and the Milken Institute School of Public Health to print 3D structures for free. Officials said students can use the printer to practice working with structures like prosthetics for free as a part of the pilot program, which lasts until February.

Anne Linton, the director of the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, said the GW Hospital Women’s Board Foundation helped the medical school bring the 3D printer to the library. Linton declined to say how much the printer cost and where the funds came from.

Linton said the 3D printer can allow students “greater exposure” to normal and pathological anatomical structures, both in the early years of their studies and during clerkships or residencies when they might focus on a specific patient’s anatomy.

“As technology continues to integrate with medicine, it is important for health sciences students to be able to leverage technology in their studies,” Linton said in an email.

Linton said students who are interested in fields like physical therapy and occupational therapy could also use the 3D printer to practice developing custom prosthetics and adaptive devices.

She said the 3D printing service will be free until Feb. 28, but officials have not determined how much the service will cost afterward. Linton added that during the pilot program, the library will asses weight and types of material used to print 3D models to create a fee schedule based on material costs.

Ed Prestera contributed reporting.

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