Junior gets hands on experience in medicine field
Junior Sarah Ford is holding a human brain.
Ford attended the LeadAmerica Medicine and Healthcare Conference at Columbia University in New York August 1-8. Over 200 students attended the seven-day-long camp.
As part of the camp, Ford explored Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine’s state of the art facilities, including their Gross Anatomy Lab, where she was able to hold and investigate a human liver, kidney, lung and touch a real human brain.
“Nothing really was gross, but I didn’t really want to touch the brain, but I felt obligated when it was passed to me because I didn’t want to get brain juice all over myself,” Ford said.
While at the camp, Ford spent most of her time learning about new up and coming advances in medicine and health care through discussions about global health issues and the process of diagnosing and treating a patient. Ford attended two to three lectures a day and participated in labs. The lectures included topics such as Medical Ethics, Anatomy & Physiology, and Ford’s favorite, Neuroscience Advances.
“Neuroscience Advances was my favorite seminar because we discussed all kinds of technology that we think can only exist in science fiction novels or movies is actually becoming a reality in labs all over the country. It was an incredibly mind blowing experience,” Ford said.
Ford also got to participate in the Standardized Patient Encounter at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. A Standardized Patient Encounter is an activity where an actor pretending to be a patient comes to Ford’s small group describing their illness. The group has to go through a process, thinking on their feet, to try to diagnose the patient with collegiate-level knowledge that they acquired throughout the program.
Ford said the hardest part of the activity was trying to come to an agreement with the group on what the diagnosis should be. Ford only got to encounter one actor who according to Ford “was a lovely woman and helpful in telling us how to improve our questioning skills.”
“It was cool getting to pretend to be a doctor and diagnose the patient with what I believe was wrong with them,” Ford said.
One of Ford’s favorite parts of the camp was getting the opportunity to live in New York City for a week. Ford stayed in the sophomore dormitories in Colombia.
“Living in NYC during the summer was amazing! I’m sure the residents got pretty frustrated with all the nerds running around with their lanyards and blue binders, but it was great to live there for a week,” Ford said.
Ford found the camp through several emails and letters that she received form the camp over the past year and decided to give the camp a shot. She suggests to anyone interested in going into the medical field to attend a medical camp similar to the one that she went to.
“It is a real eye-opening experience and it will help you to decide if this is really what you want to do. If you visit a medical school and don’t get totally grossed out when you see a real cadaver (dead human body) then hey, this might be your field,” Ford said.
Ford said one thing that she is going to miss the most from the camp was all the friends that she made. She met kids from all over the country, but she still is able to keep in touch with them through Facebook and texting.
For attending the conference, Ford received two college credits and is hoping that this will help her pursue her dream of becoming a Psychologist focusing on Post Traumatic Syndrome Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Emily Cassidy is an A&E Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.