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TEENS AT HOPKINS
 




Students Discover Pathology


Pathology’s Leandra Soto, left, and Dante Trusty with student Tearra Boone, center.

In Jim Creech’s ideal world, everyone would know the definition of pathology (the study of the abnormal), and there would be at least one medical technologist on every corner.

Instead, Creech says, “half of the population has no idea what goes on inside a lab, and there is a very serious and extreme deficit of medical technologists.”

So last spring, Creech, an administrator in the Department of Pathology, found funding for a six-week summer training program for 13 juniors and seniors at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. “Our mission was to make them more aware of the field of pathology so that they know it’s out there as a career,” says Creech.

Forty-five pathology staff, faculty and grad student volunteers were recruited by Christine Hostetter, coordinator of staff development for the department. They gave the trainees a broad introduction to most of the department’s 20-some divisions and hosted tours of several clinical laboratories. In surgical pathology, the students saw how tissue is prepared; in the micro lab, how bacteria grows. In the chemistry lab, urinalysis was the procedure du jour.

Outside activities, coordinated by Alfreda Hanna of JHH/JHHSC Human Resources, involved visits to nearby Dunbar, where pathology volunteers showed the trainees how to conduct lab experiments. Some delivered case presentations on topics involving familiar diseases, like diabetes or cancer.

Mamie Green, head of Dunbar’s science department, taught statistics and research skills. She coordinated the program with Sheila Cleary, an English teacher, who taught grammar and writing and stressed their importance, even in science.

Each trainee, meanwhile, put together a project on a topic of interest in one of pathology’s many disciplines, and those included microbiology, hematology, anatomic pathology, histology and cytology. They presented their proposals to the Pathology staff on Aug. 18.

James Conway, who wanted to know whether or not secondhand tobacco smoke adversely affects plants, won first place. Aleisha Patton, who looked into a particular insulin mixture, took home second. All the students received certificates and a $1,080 stipend.

The Department of Pathology is taking the Dunbar-Hopkins partnership to a new level. In addition to the summer program, it reviewed Dunbar’s science labs and made recommendations. Through its efforts, Facilities will help make improvements there, and PCs, courtesy of JHMCIS, have been donated.

Last summer, the department opened 13 students’ eyes to the wonders of pathology. “It was a joy to watch,” says Creech. “For the staff, the project renewed pride and commitment to their careers and the future of pathology. We intend to do this next year. Who knows, we may have even started a tradition.”

—Anne Bennett Swingle

 

 

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