Saint Alphonsus Donation Brings Cutting-Edge Technology to CWI

Published: January 15, 2016

Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise has donated a da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to the College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Surgical Technology program. The system allows surgeons to perform complex surgical procedures through the use of an interactive robot with instrument arms, and 3D HD cameras that provide a magnified view from inside the body.

The da Vinci Surgical System, which was used at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise for the past decade, will now be used to teach students in CWI’s Surgical Technology program. When purchased new, a da Vinci Surgical System costs around $2 million. The advanced technology is used in operating rooms around the world in a wide variety of practices including cardiology, general surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, and urology.

“This is exciting for students and instructors,” says Mona Bourbonnais, CWI’s Surgical Technology program chair. “Typically our students are not exposed to this technology until they enter a clinical site. By having this technology in our lab, students will have a valuable opportunity to become familiar with it prior to their clinical rotations.”  

“It was important for us to donate the machine to the College because we work directly with CWI students,” said Brenda Shaw, general vascular coordinator at Saint Alphonsus. “The da Vinci will be a great learning tool, as students will be able to practice on the technology first-hand before they are hired to work in the hospital setting.”

According to Intuitive Surgical, the company that makes the da Vinci, the original prototype was developed in the late 1980s. The U.S. Army contracted the former Stanford Research Institute to develop a system that could be used to perform remote battlefield surgeries. A decade later, the FDA cleared the way for commercial use. There are currently 2,344 machines installed in U.S. hospitals. They are located in all 50 states.

The CWI Surgical Technology program is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2016 semester. The deadline to apply to the program is March 18. Visit for more information.

Jennifer Couch

College of Western Idaho
(208) 562-3508

Joshua Schlaich
Saint Alphonsus
(208) 779-0560

About the College of Western Idaho:

The College of Western Idaho is a public, open-access, and comprehensive community college committed to providing affordable access to quality teaching and learning opportunities to the residents of its service area in western Idaho. CWI has seven campus locations throughout Southwest Idaho providing higher education and 21st Century technical skills acquisition. The college is dedicated to improving the community’s economic well-being by responding with highly-educated and productive graduates. The foundation for the area’s only community college was created by a supermajority of voters in Ada and Canyon counties on May 22, 2007. For more information about the college, visit or call (208) 562-3000.

About Saint Alphonsus Health System
As a faith-based Catholic ministry and not-for-profit health system, Saint Alphonsus Health System reinvests in the communities we serve, through charity care and other benefits. Our goal is to improve the health and well-being of people by emphasizing care that is patient-centered, physician-led, innovative and community-based.  Saint Alphonsus Health System serves the people of southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada through these facilities: Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center - Boise, ID; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Nampa, ID; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Ontario, OR; Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Baker City, OR; and, Saint Alphonsus Medical Group with primary and specialty care providers at 58 clinic locations, all of which are members of the Saint Alphonsus Health Alliance, a network of over 1900 employed and independent providers.  To find out more go to:


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