Yale Radiologist Part of Team that Designed High-Tech Exhibit at Walt Disney World's Epcot

Bruce McClennan, M.D., professor and chairman of diagnostic radiology at the Yale School of Medicine, recently collaborated with Walt Disney World to create an interactive exhibit on radiology at Epcot.

McClennan helped plan the exhibit, “Radiology: Medicine’s New Vision,” with colleagues from the Radiologic Society of North America (RSNA). He said the display, which opened in October, showcases the role of radiologists in today’s medicine and helps explain the many new uses of radiology for both treatment and therapy.

The exhibit features an arcade with several video games, including “Cell Smash,” in which a guest can blast a cancer cell, and “Brain Game,” which offers a virtual ride through the brain as its parts are identified. Another display allows guests a realistic try at performing an angioplasty. “I crashed the computer on my first try,” said McClennan.

RSNA, the largest professional radiology society in the world, made initial contact with Disney to conceive the exhibit and invested $3 million in the project.

“Since radiology has all the high-tech bells, whistles and tools for clinicians, we believed it would make a good story,” said McClennan. “The Disney engineers – they call themselves imagineers – took the advice of the advisors seriously. Several radiologists helped train the Disney guides. The exhibit demystifies radiology and shows just what is at our fingertips in radiology at the end of this millennium. The key premise was accomplished: to showcase the role of the radiologist separate from the technology.”

Inside the exhibit under a mini-geodesic dome, a video presentation using surround-sound helps Disney guides take guests through a series of real-life situations: a child being treated for leukemia and several nuclear medicine studies being performed. “They are real-life videos of what a radiologist does daily,” McClennan said.

The exhibit concept originated within RSNA’s Public Information Advisory Committee, on which McClennan sits. After advising the RSNA on what they wanted to see in the exhibit, the group brought its ideas to Disney, which created the exhibit within a year. Out of about ten exhibits in the millennium section of Innoventions, it’s the only medical exhibit.

“It’s the whole family of radiology, from diagnosis to treatment,” said McClennan. “From interventional radiologists who do balloon angioplasties and treat kidney stones to therapists who treat cancer with radiation. They did a spectacular job at capturing the field as it is while focusing on the radiologists.”

The exhibit, located on the left side of Future World in the Innoventions area at Epcot, will run for a year. Funding has been set aside for an additional 2 years.

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