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School of Medicine Inspires the Next Generation of Doctors at Fourth Annual Kids Mini-Med School

Thursday, August 12, 2010

 Dean Reece takes questions from the campers during their visit to campus.

More than 30 children between the ages of 5 and 16 got a taste of medical school throughout July and August when the University of Maryland School of Medicine held its fourth annual Mini-Med School for Kids at the Salvation Army's Franklin Square Boys & Girls Club summer camp in West Baltimore.

"Mini-Med School for Kids targets children from our underserved community in hopes of delivering key messages about important, and very relevant, health and lifestyle issues," explains Heather Graham Phelps, Manager of Public Relations in the School of Medicine's Office of Public Affairs. "It's our intent to reach these kids while they are still young and healthy in order to instill valuable information about taking care of their bodies and making smarter health and lifestyle choices."

Things kicked off July 7, 2010 with a welcome from E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President of Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. Dean Reece held a lively question and answer session with the campers as well.

This year's presenters and topics were: Ligia Peralta, MD, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, who spoke with the younger campers about proper hygiene , and her colleague, Chakeisha Dickens, who talked with the older campers about HIV and STDs; Wilbur Chen, MD, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, who talked about the importance of vaccines; Gloria Reeves, MD, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, who talked about avoiding bullying & handling peer pressure; Kevin Ferentz, MD, associate professor, Department of Family & Community Medicinem who gave a talk on smoking, drug & alcohol abuse, and addictions; and Jack Gladstein, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics, who taught the campers about how to avoid head injuries and how to handle headaches.

The final session brought the campers to campus, where Yvette Rooks, MD, assistant professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, taught them about good nutrition and ways to avoid sports injuries. Then she took the campers to the gym, where a variety of sports activities were set up for them to try.

Afterwards, Dean Reece stopped by for a visit and presented each camper for a certificate recognizing their completion of Mini-Med School. "The children really enjoy it," said camp director Deborah Tyson of the Mini-Med School experience. "We hear them discussing all they learned long after the doctors have gone, especially about avoiding drugs and alcohol and how to handle stress. They're more aware now and can therefore handle these things much better."

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 Dean Reece and Dr. Peralta gather for a group shot with the campers.

 Doctors like Dr. Ligia Peralta went to the camp each week to speak with the children.

 The children were excited to learn about medicine.

 Campers learned the importance of stretching before exercise.

 Campers loved having the chance to show off their ball skills in our new gym.

 Exercise stations ran the gamut from bean bag toss to jump rope to basketball.

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