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High-Speed Internet2 Link Revolutionizes Global Medical Education

Imagine Johns Hopkins faculty members performing microsurgery in Tanzania from a computer terminal in a Baltimore operating room, or health care experts// in Vietnam presenting an avian influenza patient to medical students gathered in the Hopkins outpatient center. These are some of the possible applications of a high-tech Internet communication system that will be used for the first time next week to link Johns Hopkins faculty with clinicians in India.

Internet2 is a high-speed, high-bandwidth, dedicated Internet network developed in 1996 by leaders in the research and education community in the United States as a way to better support education and research collaborations worldwide. On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Johns Hopkins faculty members will use this technology to conduct an interactive clinical education program on HIV/AIDS, with leading health care professionals in India.

This is a major advancement in global medical education, says Robert C. Bollinger M.D., M.P.H., professor of infectious diseases at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Clinical Global Health Education. 'This technology will allow us to bring Hopkins’ expertise in clinical education to some of the most resource-limited settings in the world, and it will give Hopkins the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, thousands of miles away.'

Bollinger says he chose HIV/AIDS for the Internet2 presentation because it’s a high-priority health issue in India and he has worked extensively in that country researching the disease.

Typical bandwidth for standard Internet conferencing is 384 kilobits per second, according to Bollinger. Internet2 operates at 2 megabits per second. The higher bandwidth allows for better resolution and permits faculty to utilize complex imaging techniques like manipulating 3-D MRI images.

'You could never perform these procedures with a standard connection,' says Bollinger. < br>
The program, running from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. EDT, will link HIV/AIDS faculty experts from India and Johns Hopkins using high-resolution, multipoint video conferencing, digital microscopy, 3-D imaging and other unique e-learning tools.

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