Nearly a dozen young adults, ages 11 to 14, gather inside the Fred Hampton Community Room at Proviso East High School in Maywood on July 23 to learn about the nature of studying medicine.
Young participants were given real stethoscopes and learned about the human heart, skin, blood, digestion, diseases, and surgical techniques, among others.
The first “Medical Small School” was free to participants and sponsored by the Maywood Safe Summer, a youth summer activities program initiated by the Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon.
Maywood resident Eileen Olivier selected the program and thought it would be a good idea to tempt him with Maywood.
Little Medical School is a national program with a chapter in the Chicago area. The program is designed to inspire “young minds by sharing our passion for learning, health, and careers in medicine,” according to its website.
“Through hands-on activities, role-plays, and interactive displays, children explore the exciting world of healthcare. All programs are written by experienced teachers, board-certified physicians, and trained healthcare professionals. Our classes are led by trained instructors from the small medical school.”
Olivier said she is always looking for medical programs for her two sons. I called Shawn Willis, president of the Chicago West Small College of Medicine, and he agreed to bring the program east.
“Guardian Brandon helped us secure location and funding, and Loyola Medicine funded the program, allowing us to offer it free to students,” Olivier said.
“These students are very interactive and interested,” she said. “They come in with questions and are interested in science. We want to delve into biochemistry and study medical science.”
Barbara Cole, founder of Maywood Youth Mentoring, helped facilitate and promote the two small medical school workshops, which took place July 16 and July 23.
“We want to get young children involved moving forward,” Cole said. The kids here know so much that I liked the questions they asked. We want to continue this and hope to engage in more Loyola’s support.”
Cole said Loyola has agreed to cover costs of about $110 per student. She hopes for more funding streams for the program in the future.
Jordyn Parker, 12, said his small medical school experience was fun and that he met many new people.
“The favorite thing I saw under the microscope was probably the cobweb we took off the wall, the paper, and when we saw our fingers,” Parker said. “We have learned about arteries and red and white blood cells. I want to become a doctor for people who have [Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder]. ”
Mary Grace Murray, a second-year medical student at Loyola Stretch College of Medicine, outlined the students’ lessons.
“They look at a bunch of different slides under a microscope, like blood. They learned the different components of blood, red and white blood cells, plasma and platelets. Then we also looked at arteries and veins.
From there they looked at the difference between the stiffer arteries in the veins. We were also looking at cardiac and smooth muscle, cardiac in the stomach, and small and large intestine, mainly human samples. They learned all these concepts in class last week and today they can see them under a microscope.”
After the second workshop was over, all the students received their festive white coats – just like the actual medical students.