Reach Out to Youth reaches up to 300 children every year, including these 2012 attendees.
One of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s most popular community outreach programs returns from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 2 in Scott Hall, 540 E. Canfield, in Detroit. The 24th annual “Reach Out to Youth,” a free event, will welcome up to 300 Detroit students ages 7 to 11 interested in medicine, as well as 200 parents interested in maximizing their child’s education potential.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. The event is sponsored and organized by the Black Medical Association, a School of Medicine student organization.
Parents and children will participate in separate workshops, with parents learning about obesity, healthy lifestyles and preparing a child for medical school. There also will be a presentation on the importance of organ donation, and adults will have the opportunity to register as organ donors.
The children will participate in interactive small group sessions focused on Anatomy, Physiology, Nutrition and Clinical Medicine. Students will examine human kidneys under the supervision of School of Medicine faculty and students. Student workshops are designed to motivate students and lead them to careers in the medical profession, as well as educate them on the science behind healthy living and eating.
“With the obesity epidemic rising regularly, this year’s program objective is to introduce the students to nutrition by familiarizing them with carbohydrates, proteins and fats,” said Class of 2015 medical student Joi Moore, this year’s Reach Out to Youth coordinator and internal vice president for the Black Medical Association. We give them examples of each in the lectures and explain to them how the body uses these nutrients. We hope to leave them with how obesity evolves in order to connect how eating the wrong foods can make you sick. Additionally, we present kidney anatomy, hoping that they link where fluids go after consumption in order to understand how drinking the wrong liquids can injury the kidneys.”
Reach Out to Youth was co-founded by School of Medicine alumni Carolyn King, M.D., Class of 1993, and Don Horakhty Tynes, M.D., Class of 1995, and targets urban youth to boost career motivation, self-esteem and knowledge about science and medicine.
“One of the major characteristics of our program that may not be offered currently at other schools is exposure to human gross anatomy,” Moore said. “Every year, we make sure to include at least one organ from the anatomy lab that the children can hold and manipulate. Seeing human anatomy is different than visualizing frog or pig anatomy. Interacting with actual human body parts is an experience that one will always remember. The children are usually fascinated by the organs and excited to learn the structures.”
Moore volunteered as a Reach Out to Youth teacher in 2012. “It was a great experience, because not only did we teach the children pertinent information about anatomy and physiology, we also created unity within the medical school community through volunteering. There are few events that all (four years) of (medical) students come to volunteer their time in the numbers visualized at Reach Out to Youth. Once a year, the Black Medical Association has the opportunity to join an often segregated community to one location to rejoice in the spirit of service, which is one of the true jewels of medicine,” she added.
Registration often fills up prior to the event, and is limited in size due to building capacity. This year, the BMA launched a new website to offer easier registration for children, parents and the volunteers, plus more information about the program itself, videos from previous years and a PayPal portal for potential sponsors.
“It’s so popular every year, because we are offering a program that targets an age group that is often under-represented in pre-medical programs,” Moore said. “Elementary school students ages 7 to 11 are not targeted by most pre-medical programs. However, children of that age may be more impressionable than a teenager at 14 years old. Our goal is to excite these children earlier with relevant and stimulating themes that make a lasting impact on their futures.”Donations are always needed, and the BMA has plans to expand the program to other medical schools across the country. For more information about this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.reachouttoyouth.org.