Ervin Elementary Fifth Graders Become Doctors for a Day

Feature

Ten-year old Angel Garcia was excited about his visit to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC).

“We worked with the medical students and got to help this guy who was in a car accident,” Garcia said. “He was about to die, and we had to help figure out how to help him.”

The accident was a part of the emergency simulation act with School of Medicine students. The goal was to demonstrate how health care professionals must work efficiently together in a stressful environment to save the life of a patient, in this case fake patients.

Sixty Joan Y. Ervin Elementary School fifth graders experienced a day in the life of a medical student. TTUHSC Student National Medical Association (SNMA) medical students hosted the Doctors for a Day Mini Camp.

Akwasi Opoku, SNMA president and second-year medical student, said the organization wanted to create an interactive and fun way to expose students to the field of medicine.

“This initiative provides local elementary students the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and walk in the shoes of TTUHSC medical students,” Opoku said. “We wanted to get students thinking about medicine as early as elementary school. The Doctors for a Day Mini Camp hopefully will spark an interest in becoming a physician, especially for underserved and underrepresented minorities.” 

Student teacher Devin Dellinger said the day was an opportunity for students to see the reality of higher education. 

“Now that they see it first hand, hopefully they realize they too can pursue a career,” Dellinger said.

Students had hands-on experience at the TTUHSC F. Marie Hall SimLife Center with diagnosing patients with different medical scenarios, worked with ultrasound equipment to learn how physicians use them and worked with simulation mannequins in the simulation lab.

“Our goal was to make this fun and interactive for the students,” Opoku said. “Many students never may have imagined they too can go into this profession. Our hope is that the students will walk away knowing they too can become a doctor.” 

For fifth grader Tanara Walton, the interactive experience helped her see she too would like to be a part of the health care profession.

“This was fun,” Walton said. “I want to be a surgeon one day to help people.”

 

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Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.