Maggie O'Keeffe, a junior at Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton, Calif. grew up listening to her mother's stories about working as a physician assistant in jail. Intrigued by the field, she had been eager to attend Med School 101, Stanford's open house-style event that allows local high-school students to sample medical school. And, after attending last week's event, O'Keeffe said her interest in medicine remains solid - plus she gained insight on her own health during a session on food allergies with Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research. (O'Keeffe is allergic to shrimp.)
Over a lunch of sandwiches and salad in the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, O'Keeffe chatted with friends as one student riffed on the piano. They were among the 140 students from six Bay Area schools who attended the one-day event, where they explored a variety of topics by attending sessions on everything from sleep, brain injuries and sun safety to the design of medical devices and the use of yoga and mindfulness to reduce stress. There was also the always-popular session on applying to medical school, led by Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean of medical education.
About 19 students signed up to tour the medical school's clinical anatomy facility, where they were able to view life-size cases available for dissection on the virtual Anatomage Table and to soar through the inside of the ear using virtual reality goggles. "You are inside the ear - enjoy it," programmer Joe Wang told the teens.
A presentation by Maya Adam, MD, a lecturer in pediatrics who also founded Just Cook for Kids, involved a yummy snack of stir-fried veggies, tips on healthy cooking, and a few life lessons:
When I got [to Stanford], I thought they had made a big mistake... I thought, 'Oh, I am so not meant to be here.' I'll just keep my mouth shut. But then I started to realize that everybody else felt that way, too.
Adam said that as a teen she used to worry about her future and struggled to decide which path to pursue. That's okay, she told the students: "Sometimes you might not know which way to go. Just keep moving forward, keep your head up, and you will end up where you are supposed to be."
Previously: Med School 101 returns to Stanford Medicine, Online Stanford nutrition course improves participants' eating habits, study finds, Advice for young docs from psychiatrist David Spiegel: Find a mentor and pursue your passion and At Med School 101, teens learn that it's "so cool to be a doctor"
Photos by Norbert von der Groeben