When you were in middle school, do you remember learning how to take a patient’s vitals, how to detect heart abnormality sounds, how to read an EKG and how to dissect a pig’s heart? Did you have the opportunity to visit a research lab for lung cancer and meet the lead scientist? Did you ever get to watch a live cardiac surgery? A group of 13 7th and 8th grade Avenues students were courageous and lucky enough to have done all of this, and more, during Med School 101 Minimester! Throughout the week, students were engaged in learning about the field of medicine, opening up their eyes, brains and hearts to all the possibilities the field has to offer.

Students did a deep dive into the anatomy of the heart.

Students did a deep dive into the anatomy of the heart.

At school, students explored how to measure blood pressure, how to listen to heart sounds and how to check for pupil dilation. They learned what information all these examinations tell you about a patient’s health. They learned how an EKG works and how to read an EKG and identify if a heart attack has occurred. Students then did a deep dive into the anatomy of the heart, including the major blood vessels involved in bringing blood to and from the heart. Students built 3D models of the heart using clay and tubing. This understanding allowed them to dissect sheep, pig and cow hearts and successfully identify the chambers, valves and vessels.

Students identify identify the chambers, valves and vessels of the heart during dissection.

Students identify the chambers, valves and vessels of the heart during dissection.

At NYU Langone, students met Dr. Kwik-Kin Wong, a leading researcher of lung cancer, and his team of scientists. At Liberty Science Center, students watched a live aortic valve replacement at Morristown Medical Center. They watched the entire open-heart surgery from start to finish, and were both amazed and astonished. During the surgery, students were able to ask the surgeon, nurses and technicians questions about the surgery, the materials and machines involved, complications and recovery time.

Visiting the Liberty Science Center.

Visiting the Liberty Science Center.

Students left this Minimester with a thorough understanding of the cardiovascular system, as well as a deeper appreciation of the various paths to pursuing a career in medicine. Who knows – one of them might end up in a research lab or operating room one day!