Sidra Pilots Mini Med School at American School of Doha

Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) recently piloted a Mini Med School at the American School of Doha (ASD). The eight week interactive program was developed to stoke the interests of senior students in health science careers, and to relate their science studies to the world of medicine.

The Mini Med School featured a series of presentations from Sidra doctors, including such topics as postmortem examinations; the most common and the most terrifying infectious diseases and how the body uses oxygen. Students also learnt how medication can paralyze people for surgery; how changing technologies can look inside the human body; and how deformities can be cured.

Dr. Jason Ford, Division Chief of Hematopathology at Sidra, developed and launched the program at ASD. Dr. Ford stated, “Medical Education is a key mission at Sidra, and we are continually working towards providing valuable opportunities for learning. The Mini Med School is an excellent opportunity to showcase the wonders of medicine and medical learning to a younger audience. One of the primary objectives was to make the sessions as fun and interactive as possible. Given that it was a voluntary after-school activity, we really wanted to make sure the students felt that there was value in attending the sessions. We were overwhelmed with the response – each session ran at full classroom capacity.”

Rusung-Tan-and-Jason-FordThe program sessions were tailored to give the students an opportunity to try various medical techniques. Most of the doctors brought in Sidra’s Simulation team to help showcase certain medical procedures on manikins – offering students the opportunity for more hands-on experience. Over 100 different students participated in the Mini Med School, with most attending all eight sessions. A second Mini Med School at ASD is being planned for 2016.

“It is partnerships like this that give students opportunities to see the “why” in what they are learning. It allows them to see things in their own context. All the doctors were clearly committed to the personal growth of our students. Not only was there excellence in the quality of the sessions but it was the genuine connection the doctors had with our students that really set the benchmark for a fun and educational after school activity. This was evident when we analyzed attendance records – there was increased student attendance as the weeks went on and we now have many students begging for more sessions! We look forward to a continued partnership with Sidra in the years ahead,” said Mr. Colin Boudreau, High School Principal, American School of Doha.

The Mini Med School program is one of many community outreach programs currently underway at Sidra. Sidra’s scholarship and outreach team are actively involved in conducting short educational sessions at schools across Qatar – giving students an opportunity to meet clinical and healthcare professionals, ask questions and take part in simulation activities.

“It was very encouraging for us to see how curious, interested and excited the ASD students were to learn about medicine. We are looking forward to coming back to ASD next year and plan to take the Mini Med School to other schools in Qatar. Sidra is an academic and teaching hospital, and we view these partnerships with high schools as a two way learning process. As doctors not only are we in a position to influence young minds to think about careers in medicine, we ourselves continue to learn the best way to make medical education engaging and hands on from an early age,” concluded Dr. Ford.

In addition to Dr. Ford, Sidra doctors who conducted presentations during the Mini Med School program at ASD included Dr. Rusung Tan (Chair of the Department of Pathology); Dr. Deepak Kaura (Chair of the Department of Radiology); Dr. Timothy McDonald (Chair of the Department of Anesthesia); Dr. Eva Thomas (Division Chief of Microbiology and Virology); Dr. Rosalie Tassone (Vice Chief of Pediatric Anesthesia) and Dr. Mitchell Stotland (Division Chief of Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery).