Middle-school Students Preview Medicine at Girls Science Discovery Day
- By Jennifer Nachbur
Nearly 90 middle-school-aged girls from 30 schools across Vermont participated in the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s 2012 Girls Science Discovery Day in May. Hosted by the American Medical Women’s Association’s student chapter at UVM and staffed by medical students, the event was held in UVM’s Given Building and Medical Education Center.
Setting the tone for the day of biomedical science workshops and tours, Janice Gallant, M.D., associate professor of radiology and pediatrics and associate dean of admissions at the UVM College of Medicine, delivered a presentation about women in medicine. Then the students split into small groups for “ice breaker” activities, and engaged in a series of workshops.
The “Parts is Parts” workshop – led by Jean Szilva, M.D., and Sarah Greene, Ph.D., from the department of anatomy and neurobiology – featured hands-on activities with real anatomical specimens in the Gross Anatomy Lab. Playing “doctor” was also among the experiences shared with the middle-schoolers. The “Say ‘Ahhh’” workshop focused on the Clinical Simulation Laboratory’s outpatient Assessment Center, equipped with 12 mock patient exam rooms, where medical students taught physical exam skills and served as pretend patients. Additional experiences included: “Lessons from the Dead” with Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., and Anita Iyer, M.D., assistant professors of pathology, which used pathology specimens to teach attendees about pathologic changes that played a role in the patient’s life and death; and a tour of the Clinical Simulation Laboratory’s virtual hospital, where the middle-schoolers could, like medical, nursing and health science students, practice working with simulated and standardized patients in a safe teaching environment. The student groups also had an opportunity to conduct a blood-clotting experiment with Paula Tracy, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, join in a lunchtime discussion and tour the UVM College of Medicine and Fletcher Allen Health Care medical center campus.