OTHELLO — What is it like to touch a human brain? Ask the students from McFarland Middle School in Othello.
On April 9 Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine brought doctors, staff and students to McFarland Middle School to give them a first-hand taste of medicine. The students were divided up into groups and given the opportunity to learn about bones in the body, view and touch human brains and hearts, discover how much sugar is in their food, learn how to find a blood vessel in the neck with a portable ultrasound machine and learn how to stop bleeding.
The event was brought to the school by GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Under-graduate Programs), a program sponsored by Washington State University (WSU). Michael Leatherman, a GEAR UP academic specialist at McFarland Middle School, was the person responsible for bringing the program to the school.
“I have been talking to different people about doing several different things,” said Leatherman. “This was one of the options. The first thing I wanted to do was a campus visit to the college of medicine. I was put in contact with Jessica (Gerdes). She put forward the idea of bringing faculty here to put on an event.”
Gerdes, the principal assistant for the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, said that this event is a good first touch for students. She is hoping to work with the Othello School District to give students a better idea of what medical careers are available to them and the steps they need to take to meet their goals.
“We are hoping to bring more hands-on engagement,” said Gerdes. “We want to give them options of things that they may be interested in the future.”
“The kids had amazing feedback between us and going back to class,” said McFarland Middle School GEAR UP site manager Kathe Vanlandingham. “They were engaged while they were in there. That says a lot.”
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.