Not everyone wants to spend their summers watching blood and guts spill onto a metal table as a masked man explains exactly which organs he’s removing from a patient’s supine form.
But some people find that sort of thing to be the ultimate summer experience.
At Drexel University College of Medicine and Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. David Stein created a five-week summer program called Mini Med School Summer Camp where teenagers get the chance to shadow various doctors and learn about different aspects of the medical field.
“I think this is a great program, and it’s one of a kind,” said Mrs. Margaret Lee, a director of the program.
The program originally began as an evening program for adults. However, teenagers started showing up, and Dr. Stein decided that it would be a good idea for teens to get experience in the field before signing up for pre-med courses in college or beginning medical school.
Mini Med School Summer Camp is split into five separate sections, each section covering a different aspect of medicine. The categories—surgery, birth, general medicine, pathology, and anesthesia—are each led by a different doctor, a specialist in the area. Each doctor takes a group of students around with them over a five-day rotation. Students in this program even get to go to conferences with doctors.
Every morning, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., a doctor comes in and lectures students about various topics. Then, students split up into groups of around five people and go with a different doctor to their assigned location for the day.
Lee said, “My favorite part of the program is seeing kids on the first day and hearing why they are here, and then seeing them the last day and seeing how they’ve learned and grown, and how their focus has changed.” Lee also said that the basic goal for the program was for teenagers to decide whether or not they really want to be a doctor.
Douglas Scott, a medical student who sometimes stops in at the morning lecture, said, “They see more than I do, and I’m a first year med student.”
For the selection process, teens have to fill out an application, which is reviewed by a panel of physicians. In addition to a personal statement, there need to be letters of recommendation and a transcript. People from all over the country—and even other countries—apply. The applicants range in age from 16 to 19, meaning high school students and college students both apply.
Students seem to find the results of acceptance well worth the stress of applying, however. Jordan Wohl (’11) learned about the program from his cousin, and now wants to be a doctor.
Nicole White, who is going to be in college this coming fall, said, “I like the program because you see stuff you don’t usually see.”
Lee can attest to that. She said, “At least one person faints every year. This year, they were caught in midair.”
Several students agreed that witnessing the autopsy was one of the highlights of the program.
The application deadline for next summer’s program is March 1, 2011.