University of Vermont

Vergennes Seventh Graders Teach UVM Med Students about Adolescence

Aaron Premont, Lance Bergmans, and Bailey Smith
UVM medical student Alison Frizell, class of 2015, left, is joined in a small-group discussion by Vergennes Union Middle School students Aaron Premont, Lance Bergmans, and Bailey Smith. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

More than 70 seventh-grade students of all different shapes and sizes filed into the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Carpenter Auditorium at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 for a lesson on adolescence. The young teens from Vergennes Union Middle School did’t hear a lecture, however. Instead, they were the teachers, sharing a wide range of medical information about adolescence with second-year medical students in the Class of 2015.

Co-organized by Barbara Frankowski, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and Charlotte Reback, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and director of the College of Medicine’s Generations course, the event provides an opportunity for second-year medical students to learn about adolescence from adolescents. Vermont Integrated Curriculum Coordinator Aaron Hurwitz works with VUMC teachers to ensure the event’s success.

Delivered by teams of two, the seventh-graders’ presentations focused on a wide variety of adolescent-related topics, such as concussions, acne, and suicide. Middle-schoolers and medical students alike benefit from this learning experience, which is an eagerly anticipated highlight of the seven-week course covering a wide range of topics from reproduction to death.

Following the presentations in Carpenter, the middle school students broke up into small groups and joined medical students for an hour-long discussion in the Medical Education Center.