Malik Daye tries his hand at tying surgical knots with help from Jack Wecowski.
Medical student Brian Haber helps Elliot Slater explore the workings of his heart.
Nic Helmstetter helps Azra Tokovic locate just the right spots for the body's main organs.
Malik Daye is keeping his options open.
If his future career in the NBA doesn’t pan out, he’d be interested in becoming a doctor.
“That’s definitely one of my options,” the 12-year-old seventh-grader from Oak Park said while taking in tips on how to tie surgical knots from fourth-year medical student Jack Wecowski.
The two were introduced during the 2012 Future Docs event at the Wayne State University School of Medicine on March 31.
Future Docs, sponsored by the School of Medicine’s Alumni Association, saw more than 400 children, parents, grandparents and other family members explore the first two floors of Scott Hall and the Kado Clinical Skills Center in the Mazurek Medical Education Commons. They engaged in hands-on activities at 16 stations to examine various facets of medicine. The event is designed to instill children with an early interest and appreciation for science that may eventually blossom into a desire for a medical career.
Wecowski showed Malik how to manipulate ropes in a demonstration of surgical knots that would test the dexterity of the finest sleight-of- hand artist at the Surgical Skills 101 station. “It’s important to get the kids involved, especially if they have an interest in it,” said Wecowski, who donned scrubs for the day.
Down the hall, Elliot Slater, and 8-year-old whose parents are missionaries in Uganda, viewed his heart pumping and his hand tendons pulling through the magic of ultrasound at the Matters of the Heart exhibit.
“I volunteered last year. It gives you a chance to meet the kids and get them interested in medicine,” said second-year medical student Brian Haber as he moved the ultrasound wand over Elliot’s chest, showing him the pumping chambers of his heart.
Elliot, who is in the United States for a year, wants to become a physician.
“We need to give children an early interest in science, medicine and medical careers,” said Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., dean of the School of Medicine. “Future Docs helps us get them interested, and if we do that early, they can stay on track for any number of health care or medical research careers.”
In addition to exploring the world of medical science, each child received a goodie bag and T-shirt sporting the words “Doctors Come in All Shapes and Sizes.” Attendees also enjoyed lunch in the Scott Hall cafeteria.
A station popular with younger children, “Pin the Organs on the Body,” had future physicians and scientists like Azra Tokovic, 8, do just that through placing stickers of major organs on the outline of a body.
Azra, who wants to become a doctor or a chemist, received some hints – when she needed them – from Nic Helmstetter, a second-year medical student and member of the School of Medicine’s chapter of the ARIE Foundation.
The foundation, new to the SOM campus this year, is dedicated to helping children with cancer. The WSU chapter works closely with Children's Hospital of Michigan. ARIE fundraises on campus and in the community, purchasing toys, books and games for children at CHM. Members also visit with pediatric patients regularly.
“We’re a new organization, but we’re all about kids,” Helmstetter said. “It’s fun and interesting for them, and it’s fun for us. It’s a nice break from all the studying.”