For students like La’nya, the event was an opportunity to experience what doctors really do. She dreams of helping people have babies, so her favorite station was the one focusing on pediatric cardiology with associate professor Jennifer Co-Vu, M.D.
Co-Vu demonstrated a heart ultrasound on medical student Cali Love. Love explained how the color on the screen shows the direction of blood flow and pointed at the image of her own heart. The students seated around the table absorbed her words, and smiles spread beneath their masks.
Room 125 buzzed with new knowledge throughout the daylong event. Some students imitated the casting process using crate paper with Velyn Wu, M.D., MACM, FAAFP, CAQSM, and others practiced kidney stone removal using Nerds candy with urology resident Jordan Matthews-Smith, M.D. Another group traveled to the fourth-floor simulation center with a Medi-Gators volunteer for an operating room tour and outside, an ambulance tour exposed the young women to yet another potential career in health care.
By 10:30 a.m., it was time for another rotation, but instead, an emergency case simulation surprised the attendees. An ambulance noise sounded and a gurney with a 130-pound female mannequin burst through the door. Clinical assistant professor Meredith Thompson, M.D., FACEP, led her emergency team, which administered chest compressions and intubated the patient. The students flocked to the gurney, watching the trauma response.
“We hope to give them exposure and to help broaden their horizons in terms of what they can do,” said Sarah Dominique, a program aid with Pace Center for Girls, which last sent a cohort on this field trip with Girls Place in 2019. “For them to see women who look like them in a professional career, to see that in action, is inspiring.”
Women in Medicine and Science, Medi-Gators and the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development’s collaboration offered a swath of activities to engage local young women from groups generally underrepresented in medicine. This community outreach event aligns with the people pillar of the College of Medicine’s strategic plan and the goals of both Pace Center for Girls and Girls Place — empowering girls to become independent women with promising futures.
“The idea of paying it forward is part of the mission of many groups on campus, and these three groups in particular,” said Ellen Zimmermann, M.D., the associate dean of the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development. “This event includes faculty, housestaff, medical students and undergraduate students, and the aim is to help inspire the next generation of physicians and scientists.”