Release Date: April 25, 2014
Buffalo, N.Y. – Splinting a friend’s finger, waxing teeth until they shine and suturing will be on the agenda on Tuesday, April 29 when nearly 100 University at Buffalo medical and dental students visit ninth and tenth graders at the Health Sciences Charter School (HSCS).
What: The UB students, local dentists and physicians, are participating in “Doctors Back to School,” a national event sponsored by the American Medical Association to inspire students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in medicine.
Where and when: Health Sciences Charter School, 1140 Ellicott Street, Buffalo on April 29, from 1:30 to 2:30 when the UB students will be introducing the high school students to various medical and dental procedures.
For press arrangements, contact Ellen Goldbaum at 716-645-4605 and 716-771-9255 on-site.
Students will learn how to:
· make casts and splints, with their friends posing as patients
· handle human hearts, lungs and brains on loan from the UB medical school’s anatomy program
· perform basic dental procedures, including tooth waxing and tooth identification.
Who: Sixty-five UB medical students and more than 30 dental students will attend. In addition to teaching small groups of students how to perform some procedures, students, physicians and dentists will talk about why they chose medicine or dentistry as a career.
There are 243 students in ninth and tenth grades at the HSCS. Seventy per cent are African-American and the majority are female. The entire student body will participate in the “Doctors Back to School” program.
"We are so honored to have students from the University at Buffalo at our school,” says HSCS principal Hank Stopinski, EdD. “Many of our students walk out of the event suggesting that one day they want to be just like the UB graduate students and become a medical professional. We are so grateful for the experience."
“The goal of this program is to show our students that you don’t have to be a rich kid from the suburbs to go to medical or dental school,” says Melina Vamvas, college and career coordinator at HSCS.
The event was coordinated by Kiana Guerrero, a Bronx native and first-year student in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Arthur Bigsby III, a student in the UB School of Dental Medicine.
“This program helps pique young minority students’ interest in medicine and dentistry by introducing them to real-life role models and by raising awareness about the need for more minority physicians,” Guerrero says.
“I feel our job as current students and eventual health professionals is to fuel the fire in these young kids,” says Bigsby. “We were obviously all inspired to enter the medical field at one point in our lives, and I cannot imagine a better feeling than returning that favor and inspiring the next generation.”
According to the AMA, while African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans comprise nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population, they make up only nine percent of the doctors in this country.
“I’m participating in ‘Doctors Back to School’ because I have a vested interest,” says Luther K. Robinson, MD, professor of pediatrics at UB. “I want to see more local students pursue careers in the health sciences – in all its varied enterprises. I believe that ‘one sows and another waters. . .’ but no one can predict which plant will flower. My role models were two dynamic teachers who validated me in my formative years. My participation in this event is an opportunity to potentially and positively impact a young person’s life.”
Michael Hatton, DDS, clinical associate professor of oral diagnostic sciences at UB said he and his wife, Elizabeth Hatton, MD, a family physician in private practice, will participate because of their own modest backgrounds.
Says Hatton: “We believe in enlightening young people about our respective professions. If only one goes on to a doctoral degree, they will be repeating the journey that my wife and I undertook many decades ago. It was a hard road, with no family financial support. We lived on a dream, and we made it happen. So can one of these kids.”
In addition to Robinson and Hatton, Steven Abel, DDS, associate dean for student affairs in the UB School of Dental medicine also will participate, as will community dentists and physicians, including Carlos Jimenez, MD, Theresa Rush, MD and Willie Underwood, MD.
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