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Pin the Kidney on the Apron

After-school Program Sparks MDs-in-Training

Hunter Longstreet earns his certificate

Future doctors conferred with practicing osteopathic physicians recently on some critical topics in the North Godwin Elementary gymnasium.

A healthy lifestyle leads to a strong body and brain, good for pursuing a career in medicine, students learned during Mini-Medical School, where they listened to doctors explain what they do every day and why it’s important.

First- through fourth-graders in the after-school program TEAM 21 visited six stations manned by osteopathic physicians representing the Family Medicine Residency program at Metro Health – University of Michigan Health’s Community Clinic and members of the Michigan Health Council.

“I learned that your kidneys are in your back,” said fourth-grader Hunter Longstreet, as he posed for a photo while holding a “Mini Medical School Graduate” certificate that gave him the title “Future Doctor.”

Hunter Longstreet earns his certificate

Donning doctor’s coats, students examined X-rays and learned about bone health, tested medical instruments, practiced hygiene using hand sanitizer to kill germs, affixed Velcro organs to an anatomy apron, and received lessons in nutrition and exercise.

“We learned how to use the equipment,” said student Laura Munoz-Castillo. “When your skin gets ripped you can get germs inside. That’s why you should wear a Band-Aid.”

Brandess Wallace, community engagement and education coordinator for the Michigan Health Council, said the mission of the event is multi-faceted.

Marc Icizanye tries on an organ bib

“One goal is to take the mystery out of and alleviate the fear that might go with visiting the doctor; another is to show kids what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle and, finally, we want to expose these kids to medicine as a potential career,” Wallace said.

Ellen Hensel, TEAM 21 site coordinator, said career exploration is an important component of the enrichment program.

“This is just something new they might not be able to fit into the school day that we can provide after school,” she said. “A lot of them might not have thought about being a doctor some day, but now it’s on their radar.”

From left, Sabrina Reeder, Adrian Vital, Yeinier Collazo and Barnard Davis, Jr., use hand sanitizer

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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