It isn’t every day that high school students get to observe how a drill is used during hip replacement surgery or examine differences between normal and malignant kidney tissue. A group of 50 high schoolers had the opportunity to do just that by engaging with interactive displays at a hands-on medical specialties fair hosted by Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM-Harlem) earlier this month.
The event was hosted through MedAchieve, Touro-COM’s after-school enrichment program that aims to expose high school students to the world of science and medicine with an eye toward encouraging future physicians to practice in underserved communities. Most participants are African-American and Hispanic students who attend school in Harlem, Queens and the Bronx.
“We hope to open their eyes to medicine and help them see what osteopathic medicine has to offer,” said Roopa Patel, OMS II, a co-director of MedAchieve.
In addition to viewing video of medical procedures, participants at the fair practiced CPR, opened airway passages on a robot and learned how to manipulate a foot to treat pain in other parts of the body. Osteopathic medical students ran interactive sessions to introduce the high schoolers to medical specialties, including emergency medicine, pediatrics and orthopedics.
“After being here, I know I want to be a surgeon,” said Jordan McDonald, 16, one of the students who participated in the event. Involvement in the MedAchieve program has inspired him to pursue a career path in neurosurgery, as well as excel in his chemistry and biology studies, he said.