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The New Premed

Doctors in Training



Making science fun: kids in a Level Up class and ONS Mini Med internship

What do you want to be when you grow up?” For kids who answer, “a doctor,” there are two new local programs that spark a love of science. Level Up Village is an after-school enrichment course that blends creative education with community service for kids ages eight to twelve. Founded by two Old Greenwich moms, Neesha Rahim and Amy McCooe, Level Up challenges kids by letting them explore STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) through fun, hands-on projects.  

During the Doctors in Training class, younger kids work with local internist Dr. Chetan Vaid to dissect a grasshopper, a frog and a worm. “When the kids find a bug in the belly of the frog, it’s like someone hit the jackpot,” says Neesha. Bonding over science is part of the goal. When kids connect in this way, they really absorb what they’re learning, says Neesha.“You don’t forget it when you play with it.” That connection between kids extends to children in developing countries—when you purchase a class for your child here in Connecticut, the company donates a class to a student in the developing world. Level Up has partnered with schools in China, India, Peru, Rwanda and Haiti, and some classes are held simultaneously via Skype. Kids also send video messages to their student partners, a modern-day version of pen pals.

As part of Doctors in Training, kids learn from a doctor about how their bodies work, and they conduct health experiments, such as looking at bacteria from their hands under a microscope.

For older students, Greenwich’s Ortho-paedic and Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS) offer a one-week Mini Med internship that gives high school teens a hands-on lab experience and inspires them to consider a career in medicine. Fifteen students participated in the workshop last summer, which includes lectures and lab work with an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a radiologist and a physiatrist as well as med and premed students.

Teens get to visit an operating room, see how bones are set, watch a demo of ultrasound and image-guided injections, suture pigs’ feet and work with models to perform a knee scope. The intense curriculum and the chance to interact with surgeons have a major influence on the students.

“This incredible opportunity profoundly increased my already strong desire to be a doctor,” says Matthew Wysocki, who wrote to thank the ONS team. This is exactly the type of impact the doctors hope to have. “Sometimes you find a great mentor or role model and it changes your whole life,” says Dr. Paul Sethi, who created the program along with Dr. Mark Vitale and says he is amazed at the teens’ level of curiosity, education and understanding. “We need to interest people in going into medicine. There’s too much in the press about dissatisfied doctors and health-care reform, but it’s still a really rewarding field.” levelupvillage.com;
onsmd.com         


Making science fun: kids in a Level Up class and ONS Mini Med internship

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