When the BCOM student chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Physicians (ACOP) first formed, faculty advisor Scott Cyrus, DO, encouraged the future pediatricians to start interacting with the children in the local community. First year student Roy Thomas presented the idea of a “Mini Med School” to his fellow club members and they held the first event last November with 22 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Las Cruces.
That event was so well-received, the ACOP club decided to do it again in March, only bigger and better this time. “We had more stations set up for the kids to rotate around and we had more volunteers to help prepare for the additional kids we were expecting,” Thomas said.
More than 50 children between the ages of seven and 12 showed up for the second Mini Med School event where they rotated through 10 different health-related stations set up by the BCOM students covering everything from healthy snacking and anatomy to the importance of hand washing. They also got a chance to use medical tools like a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, and a reflex hammer.
“The most memorable part of this experience has been seeing the smiles of the children,” Thomas said. “They are so excited to see us and learn from us, especially when we host events here at the school. Every station had its own unique element of fun and so a lot of the kids surveyed had difficulty choosing just one favorite.”
Based on the success of the previous two events, Thomas said to expect many more Mini Med School events throughout the fall and spring semesters of the 2017-18 school year and beyond. The ACOP club is also working on a week-long summer camp program tailored to middle school students.
Thomas said that an event of this size is only possible thanks to the help of his fellow students and the BCOM faculty and staff who took time out of their already busy schedules to participate. “I would like to acknowledge Alex Lam and John Avery Neal for taking photos of the event and give a special thanks to Wendy Zuniga, Dr. Richard Selinfreund, Sam Gutierrez, and Dr. Cyrus for playing a role in the success of this event. Each of the 27 volunteers did their part in helping make the event an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone.”
Photos by Alex Lam and John Avery Neal