Rhode Island students learn what it’s like to pursue a career in medicine at Brown summer program.
It’s one thing to put on a white coat and play doctor—but another thing entirely to practice taking a patient’s medical history and vital signs, dissect a cow’s heart, solve patient case studies, and master basic life support skills.
That’s what more than a dozen students from Providence-area high schools for five days in July as part of Week of Medicine, a summer enrichment course hosted by The Warren Alpert Medical School in partnership with Central Falls High School. As part of the program, funded by the Rhode Island Department of Education, 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders participated in workshops that introduced them to careers in medicine, engaged in hands-on experiences in medicine and science, and received mentorship from Medical School faculty and students.
For five hours a day Monday through Friday, the high school students became medical students, taking over the Brown medical school building on Richmond Street, donning white coats in the clinical suites that look just like doctors’ offices, and pulling on surgical gloves and scrubs in the state-of-the-art anatomy lab.
The play-acting has a pedagogical purpose, says Luckson Omoaregba, director of pathways programs at The Warren Alpert Medical School.
“The goal of the program is to demystify medical education,” he says. “By creating educational experiences in which high school students can pretend to be medical students and doctors, those roles start to feel more real to them. These experiences can help the students feel more confident about taking the steps toward a career in medicine.”