What do you want to be when you grow up? A pediatrician? A surgeon? A geneticist?
Those could be possibilities for the 38 students coming to the 18th annual CampMed program at The University of Toledo Health Science Campus Thursday and Friday, June 18 and 19.
The rising high school freshmen will experience medical school with hands-on lessons making wrist casts, suturing wounds, taking temperatures, and using blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes.
“This is the age where kids start to think that they might want to go to college and what they might want to do with the rest of their lives,” said Kathy Vasquez, director of the UT and Ohio Area Health Education Center programs, and UT associate vice president for government relations. “CampMed exposes them to the possibilities of the medical and science world because each of these students has shown promise in those academic areas.”
Sponsored by the Ohio Area Health Education Center, CampMed is a scholarship program at no cost to the students, most of whom would be first-generation college students. The Ohio Area Health Education Center, along with other programs in the country, strives to improve the health of individuals and communities by developing the health-care work force.
“We are focused on rural and underserved communities as well as minority groups that might not get this opportunity without CampMed,” Vasquez said. “This opens their eyes to a variety of experiences that are only possible in a hospital setting.”
The students begin Thursday morning with a packed agenda that includes multiple interactions with UT medical students, physicians and professors. They will participate in a medical simulation at the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center. They also will tour an anatomy lab and experience life in the ER.
Vasquez said CampMed is a competitive program that requires students to submit a letter of recommendation and a nomination from a science or math teacher or counselor, along with a personal essay. Every year, 100 students vie for a spot at CampMed.
Students come from 19 counties in northwest Ohio. Many are from districts with smaller science departments that have limited resources.
“Going into ninth grade, it is important for these kids to take advantage of every science and math class that is available so they can get into a college program that would make it possible to go to medical school,” Vasquez said. “The long-range goal of CampMed is to make sure students are thinking now about everything that is involved in becoming a physician.”