As a young man, Daniel Forsee wanted to go to medical school. “But I couldn’t afford it,” he recalled. Instead, the Newark man trained as a licensed practical nurse. He went on to earn a Ph.D., and practiced psychology.
More than 30 years after his youthful yearning to be a physician, Forsee and his wife Saundra are getting a consumer-friendly education at Christiana Care’s Mini-Medical School, where adults and high-school students learn about important trends in health and medicine from top doctors in their fields.
Unlike real life med school, Mini-Med is free. There are no tests or grades. Learners who attend all six lectures receive a certificate of achievement. Now in its sixth season, Mini-Med is sponsored by Christiana Care and the Delaware Academy of Medicine.
“This series is about health literacy, understanding our bodies,” said Timothy Gibbs, MPH, executive director of the Academy. “It also benefits high-school learners who are interested in careers in medicine, not only as physicians, but as dentists, nurses, physician assistants or physical therapists.”
More than 300 people registered for the series. More than 50 are students, ranging from middle school to college.
Topics include multiple sclerosis, disabilities in newborns, and the role genes play in cancer. A session on celiac disease has attracted a lot of attention from people who want to learn more about the digestive condition triggered by gluten, a protein found in many grains.
Sue Kennedy of Wilmington plans to attend all six lectures. She thinks of Mini-Med as an engaging, efficient way to become an educated consumer. “Learning about health and health care is very interesting to me,” she said.
The Forsees said their desire to learn more about medicine was reawakened when their daughter began studying to become a nurse.
“I enjoyed learning about trauma and how the trauma center works to take care of people with serious injuries,” Saundra Forsee said.
On March 21, the couple came to the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center at Christiana Hospital to hear a lecture on the latest ways to screen for and treat lung cancer, presented by Thomas Bauer, M.D., section chief, Thoracic Surgery at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center. Dr. Bauer noted that the average first-time smoker in Delaware is only 12 years old. That was of particular interest to 14-year-old Isabella Taylor, a freshman at A.I. du Pont High School in Wilmington.
“I want to be a pediatrician,” she said. “I want to help little kids so the next generation can grow up healthy.”