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The need for hollow microneedle arrays is important for both drug delivery and wearable sensor applications; however, their fabrication poses many challenges. Hollow metal microneedle arrays residing on a flexible metal foil substrate were created by combining additive manufacturing, micromolding, and electroplating approaches in a process we refer to as electromolding. A solid microneedle with inward facing ledge was fabricated with a two photon polymerization (2PP) system utilizing laser direct write (LDW) and then molded with polydimethylsiloxane. These molds were then coated with a seed layer of Ti/Au and subsequently electroplated with pulsed deposition to create hollow microneedles. An inward facing ledge provided a physical blocking platform to restrict deposition of the metal seed layer for creation of the microneedle bore. Various ledge sizes were tested and showed that the resulting seed layer void could be controlled via the ledge length. Mechanical properties of the PDMS mold was adjusted via the precursor ratio to create a more ductile mold that eliminated tip damage to the microneedles upon removal from the molds. Master structures were capable of being molded numerous times and molds were able to be reused. SEM/EDX analysis showed that trace amounts of the PDMS mold were transferred to the metal microneedle upon removal. The microneedle substrate showed a degree of flexibility that withstood over 100 cycles of bending from side to side without damaging. Microneedles were tested for their fracture strength and were capable of puncturing porcine skin and injecting a dye.
Few residency curricular interventions have focused on improving well-being and promoting humanism. We describe the implementation of a novel curriculum based on small-group reflection rounds—the Emergency Medicine Reflection Rounds (EMRR)—at a 4-year US emergency medicine (EM) residency. During the inaugural year (2010–2011), nine residents volunteered to take part in 1-hour monthly sessions with faculty facilitators. Residents were provided with a confidential environment to discuss difficult ethical and interpersonal encounters from their clinical experiences. Ongoing feedback from participants was solicited, culminating with a four-question survey in which all respondents remarked that the EMRR contributed to improving their own well-being and agreed that it provided an important forum for residents to discuss difficult issues in a safe environment. In this article, we describe our innovation as an example of a wellness initiative that has promoted reflective practice and fostered cooperative learning around the communication, professional, and ethical challenges inherent in EM practice. Our EMRR model may be useful to other EM residences looking to supplement their wellness curriculum.
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