Fifth grade students become ‘Doctors for a Day’

Texas Tech medical students teach local 5th graders
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 11:23 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:01 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Today, Fifth graders from Bean Elementary School became doctors for a day.

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) & the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted a “mini-camp” to inspire and inform the elementary students considering the medical industry. Kids got to ‘experience a day in the life of a medical student. The event took place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 23, at the TTUHSC Academic Classroom Building and F. Marie Hall SimLife Center, 3601 Fourth St. The elementary students took a field trip to the health science center to get some “on-the-job” experience.

The Texas Tech students were on a mission to inspire and inform the next generation of local doctors. Elwin Rutayomba and Yaw Adu, TTUHSC SNMA co-presidents and second-year TTUHSC medical students, said the organization created the event as an interactive and fun way to expose students to the field of medicine.

Adu said, “‘Doctors for a Day’ gives the students opportunities to discover medicine in an engaging environment, but most importantly, our hope is the experience will cultivate a student’s interest in medicine as a potential career path.”

Students received hands-on experience diagnosing patients in different medical scenarios, working with ultrasound equipment (to learn how they are used by physicians), working with simulation mannequins in the lab, and seeing emergency simulation acts. Discovering medicine in such an engaging environment got all the ”potential doctors excited to share their new knowledge.”

Older students shared their passion with the younger students, helping them find new career aspirations. But, across all ages, everyone enjoyed their time- clear of the confines of a classroom. The Tech students teaching the young, up-and-coming professionals, also got a chance to reflect on the importance of their own past; appreciating the chance for interactive, educational events- pointing out that the goal of this event also centered around inclusion. Skyler Thipaphay, TTUHSC SNMA member and second-year medical student, said it is important to start sowing the seeds of higher education at these early and pivotal stages.

“We want to get students thinking about medicine as early as elementary school, especially underserved and underrepresented minorities,” Thipaphay said. “Many students never may have imagined they too can go into this profession. When minority students see medical students, who look like them in white coats, our hope is that the students will walk away knowing they too can become a doctor. This experience is invaluable and immeasurable.”

Steven L. Berk, M.D., TTUHSC executive vice president and dean of the School of Medicine, said the TTUHSC SNMA chapter has inspired students at all levels.

“For more than a decade, our SNMA chapter has taken a lead in inspiring students from all backgrounds to consider health care fields,” Berk said. “SNMA has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships and has helped to guarantee Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center creates a superior learning environment for all students.”

The possible, eventual, outcome of such events, is monumentally important. Rutayomba said SNMA is dedicated to ensuring medical education and health care are culturally sensitive to the needs of diverse populations, and to increasing the number of students of color entering and completing medical school. Being a doctor for a day, gave the bean elementary students a chance to discover their passions for life.