More than 30 children between the ages of 5 and 16 are getting a taste of medical school this summer as the University of Maryland School of Medicine holds its fourth annual Mini-Med School for Kids at the Salvation Army's Franklin Square Boys & Girls Club summer camp in West Baltimore.
"Mini-Med School for Kids targets children from our underserved community in hopes of delivering key messages about important, and very relevant, health and lifestyle issues," explains Heather Graham Phelps, manager of Public Relations in the School of Medicine's Office of Public Affairs. "It's our intent to reach these kids while they are still young and healthy in order to instill valuable information about taking care of their bodies and making smarter health and lifestyle choices."
Things kicked off July 7 with a welcome from E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president of Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. Dean Reece held a lively question and answer session with the campers as well.
Also that day, Ligia Peralta, MD, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, spoke with the younger campers about proper hygiene. Meanwhile, her colleague, Chakeisha Dickens, talked with the older campers about HIV and STDs. There was some giggling, blushing and hiding of faces during her matter-of-fact presentation, but by the end the campers were comfortable enough to ask her important questions about how they could protect themselves from these diseases.
Mini-Med School for Kids will continue each Wednesday through August 11. Additional topics are: The Importance of Vaccines, presented by Wilbur Chen, MD, assistant professor, Department of Medicine; Avoiding Bullying & Peer Pressure, presented by Gloria Reeves, MD, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry; Smoking, Drug & Alcohol Abuse and Addictions, presented by Kevin Ferentz, MD, associate professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine; and Growing Minds: Headaches and Head Injuries, presented by Jack Gladstein, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics.
The final session will bring the campers to campus, where Yvette Rooks, MD, assistant professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, will talk with the campers about ways to avoid sports injuries and teach them about the "Sports for Health" exercise program. Then Dean Reece will preside over graduation ceremonies.