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Mini-Med School lets public experience hands-on health education

About two dozen community members became learners and medical students turned into teachers when the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) hosted its 10th annual Mini-Med School on Feb. 11-12.

Organized and taught by WVSOM students, the aim of Mini-Med School is to provide health education to community members. This year, representatives from seven different student organizations introduced participants to a variety of medical concepts through brief lectures, PowerPoint presentations and hands-on demonstrations.

Ruth Surgeon, of Alderson, has attended the event for at least four years. She said she appreciates that the students emphasize different aspects of health each year.

“You learn so much about so many different topics, about things that actually affect our lives. I feel like I pick up something new every time I come,” Surgeon said.

WVSOM anatomy club President Ryan Jensen, a second-year student participating in Mini-Med School for the first time, said the event can help attendees learn skills that may decrease the chances of developing certain medical problems.

“There’s a lot of preventive medicine that the public needs to know about,” Jensen said. “Our presentation dealt with lower back pain, so we wanted to show people why good posture is important and why it’s critical to lift heavy objects with your legs rather than your back.”

On the first day of the event, WVSOM’s internal medicine club discussed cancer prevention and used a model of a human colon to show attendees how an endoscope works. In their session on lower back pain, the anatomy club invited community members to view preserved portions of an actual human skeleton. The obstetrics and gynecology club taught a session on osteoporosis, asking each participant to bend an acid-soaked chicken bone to mimic the breakability of calcium-deprived human bones. And the pediatrics club demonstrated how osteopathic manipulative treatment can aid in caring for children suffering from the common cold.

On the event’s second day, the surgery club used a light box to show attendees how X-ray films are examined and described how physicians might handle a patient presenting with chest trauma. The emergency medicine club led a discussion on heart attacks and had guests practice chest compressions on task trainers, devices that simulate portions of the human body for educational purposes. And the sports medicine club spoke about concussions and displayed models of the brain to show areas that can be affected by the injury.

WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., thanked community members for participating. “The more you know about your bodies and what could potentially go wrong, the better you can help yourself and your families,” he said. “The more we can educate each other, the better off we all are, because health is a precious commodity.”

WVSOM faculty member Hilary Hamric, D.O., and second-year student Kristy Farmer oversaw this year’s Mini-Med School. Hamric said the event is as educational for students as it is for members of the public.

“As a physician, you’re a lifelong teacher,” she explained. “Many of our students already know how to communicate with each other on a professional level, but it’s also useful for them to learn to speak in a way that makes sense to the greater community. They learn skills that they’ll use for the rest of their careers.”

Date Added: 
Monday, February 25, 2019