On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, more than 60 high school students participating in the University of Kentucky Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Summer Enrichment Program Camp and Health Researchers Youth Academy Camp had the opportunity to watch an interactive surgery in real time and discuss the procedure with members of the operating room team. Through teleconferencing capabilities, students located on the UK campus and seven remote locations around the state watched the operation on large presentation screens. The minimally-invasive surgery to remove the gallbladder of a young patient was performed by Joseph Iocono, M.D., chief of Pediatric Surgery, and associate professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, and Sean Skinner, M.D., assistant professor of Surgery and Pediatrics.
The UK AHEC Central Office offers two residential summer camps for current high school students aspiring to enter the health profession. The Summer Enrichment Program Camp is offered to rising high school juniors and the Health Researchers Youth Academy Camp is offered to rising high school seniors. Both programs run concurrently for three weeks.
Jaime Hernandez, a junior from Bourbon County, who is interested in pursuing a career in neurology, said he enjoyed the summer camp because of its offerings and the opportunity to get a closer look at labs and current research underway at UK. “I enjoyed learning about medical research and observing the live surgery the most,” Hernandez said. “I felt like I was there in the operating room. The surgeons actually answered our questions while conducting the procedure.”
Students watching the operation on UK’s campus and those located at the seven satellite locations were able to ask questions during the surgery. Following the procedure, Dr. Iocono and Dr. Skinner joined students in the classroom to answer additional questions about the procedure and queries on their medical education journey.
Rose Lobbo, a junior at Tates Creek High School, said her experience with the summer program has been amazing. “I’ve met so many neat people and like-minded peers,” said Lobbo. “The activities and classes we’ve attended have been very interactive and engaging. I couldn’t stop watching the surgery. This camp is amazing, I feel so blessed to be here.”
For more information on the AHEC Summer Enrichment Program or Health Researchers Youth Academy, visit: http://ahec.med.uky.edu/summer-health-career-camps