“What do I want to be when I grow up?” This question has undoubtedly filled the minds of youth everywhere, as they excitedly contemplate how best to dedicate their lives. Of the million possibilities that are available, the thought of becoming a medical doctor is probably at the top of the extensive and rapidly changing list for most, yet may quickly fade away as youth become deterred by the length and intensity of the schooling required for this career choice.
Through funding from the Geballe Family, PVF is on a mission to inspire low-income youth to seriously consider the medical field, either again or for the first time, through its Doctors in the Classroom program. The program is simple: 6th through 12th grade teachers at San Mateo County public schools send in a short request to bring a doctor into their classroom. Once in the classroom, the doctor will give a presentation for one class period, providing students with the opportunity to explore medicine and what it takes to become a doctor as well as learn about healthy behaviors.
The 2013 program started early this past week, with six high school classes benefiting from the program at Sequoia High School in Redwood City. The doctors who presented to each class touched on a range of subjects. They discussed their own experience of contemplating the medical path, while divulging the challenges of medical school and the rewards of the health field. One doctor even brought his medical bag, presenting his stethoscope and other tools to the students for hands-on learning.
Doctors in the Classroom also allows doctors to present on topics relevant to the class curriculum. After one presentation at Sequoia High School, a teacher immediately requested that one of the doctors, who specializes in cardiovascular disease, return in the spring when her students begin learning about the heart. Through this, students are able to put what they learn in textbooks into context through the presence of a doctor who has experienced the subject firsthand.
Despite its name, the program does not only focus on doctors. As one doctor put it: “not all youth are contemplating becoming an MD” and Sequoia High School students are no exception. When the doctor asked students during the presentations what they want to be when they grow up, the answers ranged from pathologists to nurses to ultrasound technicians. In response to this, the doctor discussed alternative medical careers with the students.
By connecting established doctors with youth on the cusp of their careers, PVF’s Doctors in the Classroom program strives to forge a healthier society and a future generation of medical professionals.
Are you a teacher interested in bringing a doctor into your classroom? Check out our website for more details on how to apply!