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High School Students Get Med School Prep

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Dissecting a fetal pig, preparing an IV and touring Suburban Hospital were among the highlights this summer for a group of high school students interested in pursuing careers in medicine.

Medical School Intensive was a two-week course held in June and July that was designed to engage bright students interested in medicine. The Johns Hopkins University course attracted students from across the nation, as well as from Jordan and Canada. Students spent most of their time in Baltimore but had some sessions at the JHU Montgomery County Campus.

Students in the 1-credit course gained basic knowledge and techniques related to surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine and biomedical science by participating in interactive lectures and labs, experiencing hands-on medical trainings at the Johns Hopkins Medical Simulation Center in Baltimore, networking with medical professionals and visiting Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Lectures and hands-on activities complemented each other, so students learned the principles of a procedure and then learned how to actually do it.

The course was taught by Dr. Yuejin Li, a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an adjunct professor at Morgan State University in the Department of Biology.

Gordon Reeves, 17, of Dickerson, said the course was an opportunity for him to become better acquainted with medicine. The rising senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School said he is interested in a career in health policy as well as work as a clinician. After completing the class activities, he is leaning toward clinical work. He enjoyed learning about different medical fields, such as immunology and neuroscience.

“You can read about them on paper, but doing hands-on activities gives you an idea of what it’d be like,” Reeves said. To anyone considering applying in the future, Reeves advised: “Come ready to really learn and do things hands on. You’ll come home with new knowledge on specific subjects in the medical field.”

Students visited the Simulation Center, where Hopkins medical school students are trained. They tried suturing on a simulated hands, preparing IVs and drawing blood. They also learned CPR and first aid.

“I never thought it was going to be like this – that tying a knot could be so hard or so interesting,” said Jeannette Wu, 16.

Wu, from Los Angeles, plans to apply to Hopkins for her undergraduate studies and was grateful for the chance to see JHU before applying this fall.

“I never dissected a whole animal before,” Wu said of the pig dissection exercise. “I got to see the heart, rectum, liver, small and large intestines, everything. My experience here is beyond what I expected.”

Saudia Tate, 16, of Michigan, wants to be a neurosurgeon or cardiothoracic surgeon, so she enrolled in the course to prepare for medical school, even though that’s years away. She thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Suburban Hospital.

At Suburban, Tate and her classmates learned about radiology and saw a CAT scan machine. They visited a lab, where they discussed testing bodily fluids such as blood, urine and saliva. They also visited trauma rooms and learned about the “Stop the Bleed” campaign, a program designed to teach the public how to help in a bleeding emergency before medical professionals arrive.

“It was really cool to see equipment and needles that we practiced with in Johns Hopkins Simulation Center actually being used in the hospital,” Tate said. “It was a lot of information to take in, but very worthwhile, fun and an interesting once-in-a-lifetime experience – until we actually become those nurses, physicians and scientists.”