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OHIO’s Medical Academy successfully prepares a new cohort of students for careers in the medical field

Published: June 28, 2022 Author: Macklin Caruso

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Dublin had another successful annual Medical Academy Discovery Series. The college hosted 56 high school students from nearly 40 schools from across Ohio to explore different career opportunities in health care.

Now in its eighth year, the four-day camp took place from June 7-10. Students from the Heritage College and medical content experts from OhioHealth, the signature sponsor and program partner for the Medical Academy, worked alongside high schoolers as they participated in interactive demonstrations of human anatomy and physiology; practiced hands-on clinical skills and techniques; and worked with simulated patients.

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“As the Medical Academy has evolved over the past eight years — engaging greater numbers of students in increasingly innovative ways — the smiles of enthusiasm on the faces of the high school and OHIO professional students tell the story best,” said Timothy Cain, associate professor at the Heritage College and founding co-director of the Medical Academy.

New to this year’s academy, high school students participated in a game-based escape room that tested the students’ knowledge through interconnected logic puzzles. Designed by Ohio University medical students, the health care-themed immersive experience challenged students to save a simulated patient’s life by interpreting X-rays, applying ultrasound techniques, viewing tissue biopsies, intubating the simulated patient and solving other STEM-based puzzles.

“Those immersed in the experience soon realize that success depends equally on their ability to work together, share observations and play to the respective strengths of all those ‘locked’ in the room together,” said Sherri Reynolds Torma, associate professor in the Heritage College, physician at OhioHealth and co-director of the Medical Academy. “Reflecting and debriefing afterwards can be just as educational as the STEM puzzles and problem-solving activities themselves.”

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The Medical Academy is designed to meet the growing need for qualified medical professionals to fill many different health care roles and to establish a pipeline of future health professionals in central Ohio. The program has received enthusiastic reviews since its inception, with many past participants stating that the experience helped affirm and strengthen their intention to enter health care professions.

“Observing participants in action consistently validates our goals for the Medical Academy of inspiring young minds through innovative learning while connecting learners and health professionals across the educational continuum,” Cain said.

The academy is targeted towards high schoolers between their junior and senior year, who participate at no cost thanks to the support of generous partners – OhioHealth, LabCorp, and Elsevier. After this year’s camp, Ohio University will continue to provide quarterly enrichment activities through the upcoming school year as students decide what they want to do after high school.

Tallie Crabtree, a high school junior from Marysville Early College High School, has always dreamed of working in the medical field, but due to her lack of experience in medicine, she was intimidated by how exactly to begin a career in the field. However, the Medical Academy gave Crabtree the first-hand experience she was seeking.

“I’ve always been afraid to go into the medical field because I didn’t know where to start, and the academy cleared up all my confusion and made my future brighter,” she said.

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Carly Henry, a rising junior from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, said she appreciated the experience.

“I would say I am definitely more interested in the medical field after the camp,” Henry said, noting that it helped her to see things she did and didn’t like. “I wouldn’t want to be an emergency doctor or surgeon. However, I would be interested in nursing or orthopedics. I got to learn more in depth about all the different paths you could take in the medical field.”

The Heritage College and OhioHealth have long been partners in training medical students and residents. In 2012, the two institutions announced an expansion of their relationship when OhioHealth was named preeminent education partner for the Heritage College at Dublin, which opened in 2014.