April 5, 2024

WSU School of Medicine welcomes hundreds of Detroit middle schoolers to the world of medicine

Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Career Advising Sarkis Kouyoumjian, M.D. '98, guides a student through suturing skills at #GOALS.

Hundreds of middle school students from Detroit Public Schools were greeted with rounds of loud cheers and energetic applause from dozens of volunteers as they entered the Wayne State University School of Medicine on April 4 to Go Out and Love Science, or #GOALS, a collaboration with the Ascension Foundation for Health Equity and Ascension’s Community Impact team.

Students from Henderson, Thirkell, Hamilton and Marcus Garvey schools attended the one-day event, participating in a variety of hands-on activities in small groups, all designed to inspire a love for science and medicine that could grow into careers in the medical field.

Henderson Middle School seventh-grader Samir Lee-Ward was among the students especially enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn about medicine. She aspires to be a nurse, like her grandmother.

“It was fun,” said Lee-Ward, who especially liked practicing hands-only CPR to the tune of “Uptown Funk” in one session. “It helped me go a step further to reaching one of my goals.”

MIddle school students learn hands-only CPR at #GOALS, or Go Out and Love Science.

The day was structured like a typical school day, with students moving between activities every 30 minutes hosted by Wayne State University medical students, undergraduate students and faculty, as well as health care professionals from Ascension Health.

“These events plant the seed for the future belief that one can actually go into the sciences,” said WSU Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and of Pediatrics Eric Ayers, M.D., who praised the event for introducing students to skills like first aid and health and wellness, which they can take back to their families and preach within the community.

“Now, they’ll also understand that it is about population health and taking care of oneself,” he added.

The middle school participants were engaged and encouraged to consider what could be possible in the future if they study science today.

Students take turns checking each other's blood pressure and learning the healthiest range.

“This is for you. We are so happy to have you with us,” said School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., who welcomed the students to the medical campus. “It is an opportunity for this medical school to welcome you and have you take a look at what medicine is all about, pique your interest, and to put your mind to this school, which is definitely within your reach.”

While #GOALS has been an initiative of the Ascension Foundation for Health Equity for several years, a majority of the day’s hands-on activities were designed by WSU School of Medicine students and faculty, including suturing, stop-the-bleed, the use of ultrasound and THINK brain lab activities.

“It is part of the reason Wayne State is who we want to partner with,” said Kristen Brown, vice president of Communications for the Ascension Foundation. “These volunteers are medical students and doctors, giving not just their time, but their presence.”

Volunteers also touted that an early love for science is the pathway to creating the next generation of doctors, scientists and STEM professionals. An early interest in science propels students throughout high school, college, and into medical and other health schools.

School of Medicine Post Baccalaureate Program student Nina Agemy was among the volunteers stationed in the cardiopulmonary resuscitation activity room, where the children learned how to perform hands-only CPR.

“I love this. There is a gap between middle school and high school students (learning about medical careers), and this is a great opportunity to expose them to medicine,” Agemy said. “It really is a beautiful community event, and I’m very proud to be a Wayne State Warrior right now.”

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