Faculty Launch Health Care Career Program for High School Students

COM_Careers in Medicine program

The Department of Medical Sciences & Education launched Boston University-Introduction to Careers in Medicine (BU-ICM), a program designed to meet the growing interest of high school students in health care careers.

During March and April, 23 students from 18 Boston and Greater Boston area public, private, regional and technical high schools including Essex Technical High School, Madison Park Technical High School, Lexington High School, Westford Academy and Hopkinton High School, completed an eight session program on Sundays at BUSM. Program participants included 16 girls and 7 boys from diverse backgrounds.

Under the leadership of Hee-Young Park, PhD, Professor & Chair of the Department of Medical Sciences & Education, Kenneth Grundfast, MD, Professor & Chair, Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, and Maura Kelley, MD, instructor in the Department of Medical Sciences & Education, developed the curriculum and co-directed this program. Each of the eight sessions, which ran from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., focused on an educational activity related to health sciences.  Mornings were devoted to a specific topic, and afternoon sessions complemented topics by engaging the students in an interactive activity.

The program achieved success in large part because of its faculty, which included master teachers such as Drs. Ann Zumwalt, Alysia Green, Deborah Vaughn, Aaron Young, Ronald Corley, Claudio Morera, Thea James, Kitt Shaffer and Ricardo Cruz.

The first four weeks of the program emphasized the basic sciences, simulating the first two years of medical school. The topics included anatomy, histology, physiology and microbiology. The second half of the program was devoted to clinical topics, reflecting the third and fourth years of medical school. This included sessions on surgery, emergency medicine, gastroenterology and general internal medicine. For example, Kelley presented an overview of infectious diseases for the microbiology session in the morning, and the students then toured the NEIDL with Corley in the afternoon.

The students came with different science backgrounds, but they all came with enthusiasm and dedication. Students applied to the program in the fall and were chosen for the program based on their transcript, a personal statement, and one letter of recommendation.

Based on feedback from both students and their parents, the program met and exceeded their expectations. Student Maya Zaslaw found the NEIDL tour to be “such a cool experience” that she is hoping to work there this summer as a research intern. For student Donald Walk, this program provided “a unique and amazing opportunity to see medicine first-hand.” For parent Carol Gonzalez, “Sundays have taken on a new excitement and purpose in our home” because of the BU-ICM program. Parent Debra Blyth-Wilk found the program to be “a terrific learning experience” for her daughter.

Given the strong demand and enthusiastic interest in this program, BU-ICM will take place again next year.