About 250 elementary school-age children, their parents and grandparents, traversed the floors of Scott Hall and the Mazurek Medical Education Commons on Saturday looking for the spark that may set them on a path into the world of medicine.
Marking its 20th year, Future Docs offered children 6 to 12 the opportunity to explore the world of medicine, medical science and health careers through a day filled with fun and education. The event, held March 11 at Scott Hall and the Mazurek Medical Education Commons, featured 17 hands-on medical and science workshops with names like Brain Blast, Allergy Busters, Wind Your Way Through DNA, Heart Rocks and How Babies Grow.
There was plenty of fun mixed with the science, including a photobooth, a temporary tattoo station and a healthy living exercise station. Students received a commemorative T-shirt, backpack and other medical-themed goodies, along with lunch.
In addition to providing potential generations of physicians and scientists with a window on medicine and research, Future Docs also gives medical students and School of Medicine faculty the chance to share their knowledge and enthusiasm while giving back to the community.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, and I love working with children,” said Marie Papamarcos, a fourth-year medical student as she showed Zain Waseem, 8, of Farmington Hills, how an ultrasound works.
Future Docs is sort of a last hurrah at the School of Medicine for Papamarcos, who soon enters the U.S. Army as a pediatrician. She matched into her residency earlier this year through the Military Match and will begin practicing as a lieutenant in Tacoma, Wash.
Saturday was a resuscitation of Future Docs, which was forced into a two-year hiatus by the COVID-19 pandemic. About 170 medical students, physicians and research assistants volunteered to man the stations and work with the children.
Third-year medical student Bianca Parker jumped at the opportunity to demonstrate the tools of orthopedic surgery, her chosen field, at the Saw Bones Lab in the Mazurek Medical Education Commons.
“I love to do this kind of thing,” Parker said over the sound of teeming children fascinated by the rods, plates and screws, and the whir of drills. “It’s fun and the children get an inside look at medicine they might not otherwise see.”
Zaina Khoury, a third-year student planning a career in Orthopedics, naturally volunteered to supervise one of the stations in the Finger Casting demonstration. “It’s my specialty of interest and it’s nice to give back and interest children in possible careers in medicine,” she said.