Sevriano Seda and Nelson Mweberi both plan to become doctors someday.
But the 17-year-olds are still in high school, in the nursing tech program at Hodgson Vocational Technical High School in Newark, Del.
The teens are getting a head start on their aspirations at Mini Medical School, a free, six-week lecture series offered to young people and adults of all ages. The faculty is made up of Christiana Care doctors, who offer in-depth lectures on important health issues and advances in medicine and research.
“My teacher suggested I come because this might look good on my college applications,” says Seda, of Bear. “I want to become a cardiologist, so I’m especially interested in this lecture.”
The topic of the evening at Christiana Care’s John H. Ammon Medical Education Center was “The Beat Goes On: Heart Rhythm Solutions,” presented by Roger Kerzner, M.D., director of Electrophysiology Research at Christiana Care Cardiology Consultants. Other topics have included “The Aging Brain: Fact and Fiction about Brain Health,” and “Pancreatic Cancer: Approach and Treatment Options.”
“I want to be a surgeon, so I was very interested in the kidney transplant lecture,” says Mweberi, of Newark.
Mini Medical School is sponsored by Christiana Care Health System, the Delaware Academy of Medicine and the Delaware Academy of Family Physicians. There are no tests or grades. No previous medical training is required.
The participants who attend all six sessions don’t get an M.D., but they do earn a certificate of achievement. A similar five-lecture series also is offered in Lewes, Del.
This year, the sponsors reached out to students throughout New Castle County, distributing posters and flyers to public, parochial and independent schools.
“There are many kids in high school who are thinking deeply about what they will do in life, and we think this series could be very meaningful to them,” says Timothy Gibbs, executive director of the Delaware Academy of Medicine.
Victoria Sanchez of North East, Md., 16, is a junior at St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington who has clearly defined career aspirations.
“My mom is a doctor, and I want to go into that field, as well,” she says.
Sara Buni of Elkton, Maryland, a 16-year-old sophomore at St. Mark’s, says she has always had an awareness of the importance of health care. Both her parents are nurses.
She is impressed that Mini Med School provides information on health that is accessible to learners who don’t have a background in medicine.
“It’s really understandable, even from a high school point of view,” she says. “I learned that stroke is so much more complicated than it seems.”
Participants have an opportunity to ask questions after each presentation. Between 100 and 160 people registered for each lecture in the series, says Tracy Miller, program coordinator.
Young Seda committed to attending them all. He took lots of notes so that he could follow up with independent studies. He also made arrangements to shadow a primary care doctor for an afternoon at his office.
“Mini Med School is a wonderful learning experience,” he says. “I have learned more about health care, and I feel more confident that I am on the right career track.”
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