April 1, 2014

Llamas In Pajamas Go To Med School

Today’s post is written by Donna Carroll, Director of Health Initiatives.

20140321-DSC_6072Pajama day at El Sol Elementary, complete with favorite stuffed animals, meets Mini-Medical School. It sounds crazy but that was the exciting combination that made Friday, March 24, a wonderful and memorable day at the school for students, teachers and guests.

El Sol students had a chance to get hands-on experience reading x-rays, cleaning (pretend) wounds, listening to heartbeats through stethoscopes, and peering into otoscopes to see the tympanic membrane, and who knows what else, in ears. They were able to talk to, learn from and examine medical residents from WMU Homer Stryker College of Medicine and medical students from MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The medical students and residents hosted six stations, each devoted to a separate health area.  Students visited each of the six stations in groups. Their final stop: a station where each student donned a child-size white coat and stethoscope and was photographed as a future medical graduate. What a great opportunity for our students who can all take advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise®.

100_5120At one station devoted to bones, students had a chance to examine and read x-rays, and could also examine a model of the spine, feeling the small bumpy bones on the model and then feeling the same bones on their own spines. As well as learning about how to identify and repair a broken bone, students also learned about how to protect and strengthen their own bones so they can avoid breaks – by drinking milk, wearing a bike helmet, and wearing knee and elbow pads when skateboarding.

El Sol students also had a chance to show off their knowledge. One of the residents said he was impressed that a third grader knew where the smallest bone in the body can be found (in the ear, for those of us who aren’t so knowledgeable.)

20140321-DSC_6146Stephanie Walther, Communities In Schools Site Coordinator at El Sol, worked to schedule classrooms and ensure a smooth flow to the day. “The students really seemed to enjoy it and be engaged in what they were doing. They were learning and also having fun. The teachers were also very positive. One teacher said she hoped the Mini-Medical School will come back next year.”

A number of area legislators also stopped by and toured the Mini-Medical School. Senator Tonya Schuitmaker and Representatives Sean McCann and Margaret O’Brien had a chance to see the rich interaction between medical students and residents and enthusiastic elementary students who may one day walk in their shoes.

Thank you to the Michigan Osteopathic Association for the bringing the Mini-Medical School to El Sol and also to Dr. Joanne Baker who works so hard  to promote preventive medicine, health and physical fitness.

And those stylish pajamas and robes? One of the medical students said he wondered when he first arrived at the very casual attire. “I thought maybe it was how everyone dressed at the school.”


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