Around 80 seventh grade students from Northeast Middle School’s Team I.N.S.P.I.R.E were able to become crime scene investigators (CSI) on Tuesday, October 15 at the Patient Care Center.  The mission to find things about the eye.  The focus of the trip was to give the scholars a tour of the facility and discuss the importance of problem solving and innovation with them.  A large part of the trip focused on spending time learning about innovation and problem solving within the Patient Care Center. 

Dr. Beth Henderson along with Drs. Julie DeKinder, Jessica Tu and Matthew Lee as well as several optometry students aided the young investigators on the case.  Henderson borrowed the idea from her daughter’s botany class at Mizzou.   When DeKinders’ daughter and her class was looking for a new way to learn how optometrist use technology in optometry, Henderson suggested using a mystery-solving format to engage the students. “The premise was that a restaurant employee overheard a mob boss telling the victim that his eye problems had cost the organization too much money, and that the eyes were going to have to go,” said Henderson. 

As the story went on Henderson explained, “The employee reported the event to the police.  The next morning, the police found the excavated eyes and a pair of glasses with the UMSL logo on the temple in the trunk of a car in the parking lot.  The police then came to UMSL with diagnoses that their CSI person had made on the set of eyes, and the records at the UEC pulled of all of the patients who had purchased the frame found at the crime scene. The students got a list of all of these patients and their ocular diagnoses.”

Throughout the Patient Care Center, stations were set up with different pieces of equipment where groups of students would visit.  At each stop, the students received a short tutorial on the instrument and then the students would have to interpret the test results from the particular station.  The student has compared the victim’s eye findings for that particular instrument with the list of names on their list.  Throughout the stops at each station, they were not only learning about a particular test, but they were also narrowing down the suspect list until they arrived at the victim’s identity. 

The scholars learned about a few aspects of ocular disease.  Students learned to apply this knowledge to review a few cases to determine the diagnosis.  The team also had a tour of the campus. “The students enjoyed the experience and they had fun learning about optometry,” commented DeKinder.   The Patient Care Center continues to bring new and innovative equipment in so optometry students are always learning on the latest and most technologically advanced equipment. 

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