SOUTHFIELD—In a continuing expansion of its health education programs, Lawrence Technological University will begin offering a graduate certificate in intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) in the Summer 2024 semester.
The three-semester, 35-credit-hour program will include 30 weeks of supervised clinical experience in operating rooms through LTU’s relationship with industry partners Comprehensive Care Services Inc. (CCS) of Plymouth and Medsurant Health, a Cincinnati-based provider of intraoperative neuromonitoring services. The first semester will consist of classes at LTU, followed by two semesters of clinical rotations at CCS and Medsurant partner hospitals.
Intraoperative neuromonitoring technicians monitor the peripheral and central nervous system during complex spine and brain surgeries.
“We monitor neurological function in any procedure where the surgeon determines neurological function could be at risk,” said Jay Fanelli, a longtime intraoperative neuromonitoring technician and CCS employee who will serve as the program’s clinical coordinator. “We monitor blood flow to the brain and other biomarkers.”
Added Robert Frye, former Medsurant president who will serve as program director: “IONM is the collection, assessment, and communication of neurological data throughout relevant operating procedures.”
Said LTU President Tarek M. Sobh: “The new IONM program represents another step in LTU’s growth in providing top-quality, technologically sophisticated healthcare education. We are helping solve the healthcare worker shortage, and we are planning on adding more certificate and degree programs in healthcare professions in the years ahead.”
The program will be housed in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the LTU College of Engineering.
“The program is very, very technical, so the program is well placed in the College of Engineering,” Frye said. “There’s a lot of technical content. You have to be familiar with electrical and electronic engineering and software.”
Yawen Li, chair of LTU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, said there are currently only a handful of academic IONM programs in the United States. And unlike those programs, the LTU IONM program will be open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree, though Bachelor of Science degrees are preferred.
LTU plans to admit six to eight students in its first cohort, eventually growing the program to cohorts of approximately 15 students. For more information on the program, visit https://www.ltu.edu/engineering/biomedical/gcionm. Applications are currently being accepted.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for IONM is bright, with the profession’s job count growing 5 percent per year, faster than the overall job market, with a median salary of approximately $89,000 in 2023.
“I couldn’t be more excited to help bring the IONM profession into the future with a formal, accredited program at a technological university like LTU,” Fanelli said.
The program’s aim is to provide students with all the qualifications necessary to sit for the certification examination upon completion. That exam, the Certification in Neurological Intraoperative Neuromonitoring, is administered by the nonprofit American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists Inc. (ABRET).
Both Frye and Fanelli have deep industry experience, Frye in the profession 23 years and Fanelli for eight years.
Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU, offering graphic arts and media programs as part of LTU’s growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.