SD HOSA Parliamentarian Attends Advanced Medical and Public Health Summit at Georgetown

Kendra's Nigeria experiences via Oculus Rift: Kendra Diagnosis using Oculus Rift

This summer our Parliamentarian Kendra Elk Looks Back of Todd County HOSA attended the Advanced Medical and Public Health Internship Summit at Georgetown University. This week-long program is brought to you by Leadership Initiatives and is the-first-of-its-kind because it pairs motivated high school students with medical professionals from across the world with the goal of training the next generation of doctors in emergency medicine, sports medicine, surgery, and medical research.

At this program, Kendra received certification in First Aid, CPR, and AED through the Red Cross using state-of-the-art training equipment. This in-depth medical training is a crucial step towards a career in the medical field. She was also invited to Howard University’s Medical Simulation Lab where she became acquainted with some of the facility’s simulation mannequins. She learned how to conduct an ultrasound, draw blood using a phlebotomy arm simulator, and operate various types of endoscopies through a line endoscopic medical simulator. She also toured the Georgetown University Hospital and the National Institute of Health, where she was able to walk through parts of the library of medicine and learn about the “Visible Human Project”.

In addition to that, she had the opportunity to meet with medical school admissions officers and medical experts through an exclusive Q&A panel. This was helpful because she was able to get a firsthand account of what universities look for in their accepted students, as well as gain insight of the medical world from people who have years of experience in fields such as surgery, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and neuroscience. Admission officers from Harvard, Dartmouth, Georgetown, George Washington, Brown, and Johns Hopkins University were there.

The most prominent part of the program is giving the students the experience of diagnosing a real-life patient while using the next generation of medical technology. Throughout the week, Dr. Aisha Garba who served many years treating patients in the developing world, taught the students how to diagnose patients in desperate need of medical attention. She focused on the four leading causes of death in Northern Nigeria: malaria, typhoid fever, nutritional anemia, and acute respiratory infections (ARI). Leadership Initiatives uses virtual reality technology called the Oculus Rift to communicate with patients at the Roya Shifa Hospital and Surgery Center in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

At the end of the week, Kendra put on the Oculus Rift Goggles and was transported to the Bauchi State Hospital where she was able to interact with a patient in real time. Using a doctor in Nigeria as an extension of herself, she examined and successfully diagnosed a patient who could not afford medical care. That patient, along with any other patient diagnosed by a student, received free medical care paid for by Leadership Initiatives.

Kendra discovered this program while she was at the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Orlando, FL. While at the conference she was able to make connections with other programs and individuals. A month later she was in Georgetown, working alongside many other brilliant young minds with a vast interest in medicine.

Kendra is incredibly thankful for the experience she gained at the Advanced Medical and Public Health Summit. It certainly transformed her life and showed her more of what the medical field has to offer. Besides gaining skills and expanding her knowledge, she was also able to make friends with people across the nation. She values the connection she shared with those people and looks forward to what the future has in store for her. She is proud to say that the program truly inspired and empowered her as a future medical professional. She will never forget her time there and cannot wait to further pursue her passion in medicine.

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