School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Future Docs provides kids introductory glimpse of medicine

John DiPillo, 12, of Davison examines a human brain.

John DiPillo, 12, of Davison examines a human brain.

Tierra Richards, 9, of Detroit, undergoes an ultrasound of her heart.

Tierra Richards, 9, of Detroit, undergoes an ultrasound of her heart.

First-year medical student Mariam Qureshi helps Kennedy Waddell, 5, of Sterling Heights, listen to her heartbeat.

First-year medical student Mariam Qureshi helps Kennedy Waddell, 5, of Sterling Heights, listen to her heartbeat.

“Cool” was definitely the word of the day at Future Docs 2009.

Getting your finger set in a plaster cast: Cool.

Holding a cow eye and helping dissect it: Even cooler.

Undergoing an ultrasound of your heart and getting a take-home picture of it: The coolest.

From the latest in medical robots to listening to the fetal heart tones of a pregnant mother, nearly 400 children delved into the world of medical science March 21 during Wayne State University School of Medicine’s annual Future Docs. The event, sponsored by the School of Medicine’s Alumni Affairs, is designed to hook children with an interest in science that will one day mature into careers in medical fields.

“I think that it opens up the kids’ eyes to the possibilities of science and medical school,” said Executive Vice Dean Robert Frank, M.D., who welcomed the children and their parents, grandparents and other relatives to Scott Hall for the day’s events. “They get to talk to doctors and medical students, get some hands-on activities, and hopefully that sparks some interest down the line. We really never know what the catalyst will be. It could be a special teacher or an event such as this that could lead to someone becoming a physician.”

Gloria Kang, 9, of Troy, thought holding a cow eye in the Ophthalmology room staffed by Kresge Eye Institute members was “pretty cool and a little scary – and kind of smelly.” Any queasiness was quickly calmed by petting a training dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Thomas Cairgle, 10, of Franklin, loves science and said he might become a physician.

“I liked getting my heart (ultrasound),” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see your heart beating like that.”

Nicole Denha, 11, of Beverly Hills, attended Future Docs as a guest of her aunt, Anita Bodiya, M.D., Class of 1995, a family physician in Novi. She liked the event, but seemed a bit reticent to handle a human brain. “I’ve held brains before,” she said, to laughs from family members.

Natalie Aulicino, 8, isn’t sure yet that she wants to become a doctor, like her father, Michael Aulicino, M.D., of Northville. While having her finger set in a cast was “cool,” Natalie is not yet sold on a career in medicine. And that’s just fine, because there’s plenty of time for the children who attended Future Docs to make up their minds, said Dr. Aulicino, an assistant professor in the Pathology Department.

“This is a great opportunity for kids to get some exposure to the sciences and realize whether or not they may want to get into medicine,” he said.

Children could explore 13 stations in all, each touching on a different specialty. They could also climb into the back of a Detroit Emergency Medical Services ambulance for an inside tour of the rig.

Lunch and entertainment by clowns were included, and each child received a Future Docs T-shirt and a gift bag.

While the day’s events hopefully prove memorable for the children, sponsors hope that they have planted another seed: that when some of the visitors decide upon a medical career, they choose Wayne State University for their training – and then one day they will bring their children to Future Docs.

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