Photos: Mini-Med Graduates the Mini-Class of 2018

November 7, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

On Lab Night, Mini-Medical School participants receive their laboratory tour “Match Day” letters and await the moment where they find out if they have matched to their preferred laboratory for a tour.

I am continually in awe of the dedication and commitment of our faculty. I see it every day, across all mission areas, but the most recent example is the completion of another successful year of our Mini Medical School. This is an annual, free community program held for seven consecutive Wednesdays in September and October. Led by Program Director Dr. Sean Reed, with the help of Cathy Bowers, Colleen Kiernan, Daisy Hutcherson, and Elizabeth Graham, it’s taught by volunteer School of Medicine faculty and over 60 medical school students.

Mini-Med allows us to raise health literacy within our community. As Sean says, we can do some of this at the bedside but we can further our reach by engaging the population outside of the formal confines of a healthcare system.

A medical student volunteer demonstrates the cranial nerve exam on a willing Mini-Medical School participant.

Our work empowers participants in the program to be effective partners in receiving healthcare services. We do this by teaching them about the medical interview process and clinical reasoning — which gives them better insights and context into the healthcare process — but we also teach them real-life skills, like how to check blood pressure, assess the signs and symptoms of stroke, know the importance of nutrition, and how to understand the value of the healthcare they are receiving. It helps community members as individuals and has a halo effect of helping those around them at home, work, school, or church. We’re a public resource and, as such, Mini-Med is an opportunity to bring information to the public directly about important topics like new screening measures, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) education, or new-to-market vaccines.

Mini-Med dedicates an entire evening to biomedical research. The classes are divided into small groups (done via a mock Match Day process, which is fun) and they each visit one of our labs. Here they learn about the connection between basic science and clinical research, and the medicine they ultimately may receive as a patient. For many of our participants, this is their first exposure to the continuum of how medicine is developed and delivered.

Naturally, no proper schooling would be complete without field trips. Participants can come early on some evenings to learn about our services through tours of facilities such as the Interventional Radiology suite, the Simulation Center and the rare books library collection. Just like our own medical students, participants are exposed to active learning techniques and small-group discussions, and are taught physical exam skills in the Clinical Skills Center.

This is a long-winded way of saying thank you. Thank you to our faculty. Thank you to our staff. Thank you to our students who recently helped graduate the MMS18 (Mini-Med School Class of 2018). The feedback we receive on this program is staggeringly positive. Without your efforts, this program would not be possible.

R.J. Canterbury, MD, MS, DLFAPA
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Education

During Pediatric Oncology Night at the UVA Children’s Hospital Battle Building, Mini-Medical School participants get a chance to practice extracting bone marrow from chicken bones. Participants also practiced pediatric lumbar punctures on models, and listened to presentations on pediatric cancer research.

Medical student volunteer Haley Podeschi, SMD19, demonstrates the cranial nerve exam on a Mini-Medical School participant, as others watch.

Medical student volunteer Franck Azobou-Tonleu, SMD19, teaches the bones of the skull to a participant group in the Learning Studio during Anatomy Night.

Medical student volunteer Daniel Akyeampong, SMD21, teaches the cranial nerve exam to Mini-Medical School participants during Anatomy Night.

A Mini-Medical School participant get an opportunity to handle a human brain during Lab Night in the Lukens Laboratory. This tour — one of 12 research tours provided —was given by John Lukens, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, whose research seeks to explore how the interaction between the immune and nervous systems will lead to improved understanding of complex neurological disorders in humans and will help to identify novel and promising therapeutic targets to treat Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), CNS injury, and autism.

On night one, medical student volunteers (in orange Tshirts) share their medical school experiences and get to know the participants while waiting for class to begin. Part of this evening involves a blood pressure skill training session conducted by the Medical Student Volunteers in small participants groups.

Participants celebrate the “Match Day” experience on Lab Night.

Dr. Sean Reed engages in an ethics discussion with Mini-Medical School participants and a medical student volunteer.

Part of the curriculum for this night, “Hepatitis C: A Case Study,” involved discussions abound the ethics of rationing healthcare. Here, UVA medical student volunteers (in orange T-shirts) facilitate small group discussions with Mini-Medical School participants at tables in the Claude Moore Medical Education Building Learning Studio.

Filed Under: Education, Faculty