Ascension Parish students explore medical school with Day With the Doctors Program

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Parish students shown left to right are (front row) Brynn Babin, Shelby Beavers, Berman Berthelot, Maddie Coleman, Miah Jordan, Larissa Mayorga, (back row) Cameron McAllister, Carlie Melancon, Ray Oschwald, Sedrick Scott, Caroline Wright, and Kaitlyn Young.

Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center (CLAHEC) and LSU Health New Orleans recently presented the "Day With The Doctors" program for high school juniors and seniors living in CLAHEC's nine-parish region around the Baton Rouge area. The program was a one-day interactive experience that provided students who are interested in medicine or a health career with an opportunity to observe a day's activities on a medical school campus.

On Friday, Jan.18, forty-five qualifying students traveled via coach bus to the LSU Health New Orleans campus. Students were given the opportunity to learn about heart and lung sounds, to measure respiratory rate and blood pressure, to learn basic life support practices working with the trauma simulator, and to learn and practice laparoscopic techniques using training simulators in the Center for Advanced Practice at the school. Participants were also able to interact with second year medical students and find out about the "life of a medical student." They learned firsthand about human gross organs and learned to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue.

Dr. Robert Eubanks, Admissions Committee for LSU Health New Orleans, walked students through the application process. Dr. Richard DiCarlo, Assistant Dean of Medical Education, demonstrated the correct method of patient interviewing in a mock patient interview.

Ascension Parish students who participated in the day were Brynn Babin, Shelby Beavers, Berman Berthelot, Maddie Coleman, Carlie Melancon, Caroline Wright, and Kaitlyn Young from St. Amant HS; Miah Jordan, Larissa Mayorga, Cameron McAllister, and Sedrick Scott from East Ascension HS; and Ray Oschwald from Ascension Catholic HS.

Caroline Wright is quoted as saying "I really enjoyed this program a lot. Spending time with med students really helped me better understand the steps I have to take to become a doctor. The most cherished part of my day was getting time to talk to actual medical students and realizing that my dream is attainable and possible to achieve."

Cameron McAllister said, "The most valuable part of the day for me was looking into the everyday lives of residents and students. It showed me what it would look like for me in the future."

CLAHEC is a non-profit, community-based agency dedicated to improving healthcare in Louisiana and addressing the problem of healthcare professional shortages in our state. A primary goal of CLAHEC is to identify local needs and develop programs that will encourage young people to consider a career in healthcare and to practice in rural and underserved communities where their services are urgently needed. Nan Ewing, program coordinator, states that "the 'Day with the Doctors' program is an excellent tool for students to learn about medical school and develop ideas for their own future careers through observation, hands-on experiences, and interaction with second year medical students."