A Record Number Turn Out for Our Eighth Annual Mini-Med School
Thursday, September 04, 2008
A record number of attendees filled the house at this year's first Mini-Med School session.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine's eighth annual Mini-Med School started on September 3, 2008, with a record number of participants turning out for the first class. Offered as a public service by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Mini-Med School is a series of tuition-free classes designed to help Baltimore residents improve their health and well being. Mini-Med School lectures are presented by faculty physicians at the medical school, and are open to everyone. The sessions are designed to be casual, fun and informative presentations on health care issues that are important to the community.
More than 300 students – a mix of both Mini-Med alumni and newcomers – enjoyed lively and informative presentations by Dr. Alessio Fasano and Dr. Carnell Cooper, during the first week's session. Dr. Fasano – a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Center for Celiac Research and the Mucosal Biology Research Center – spoke about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease. Dr. Cooper, associate professor in the Department of Surgery, tackled the difficult issue of violence prevention.
Although celiac disease was once thought to be exclusive to European countries and people of European origin in the United States, new diagnostic tests have proven that it exists in populations around the world, including African-Americans. Dr. Fasano detailed the symptoms of the disease, including weight loss, abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, weakness, malnutrition and other gastrointestinal problems. He urged those who are showing symptoms or who have a genetic predisposition to the disease to be tested. Celiac disease can only be treated with a gluten-free diet, which is very difficult to follow. Dr. Fasano and his colleagues at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research are dedicated to learning the cause of celiac disease, identifying new medications, and, ultimately, finding a cure.
Unfortunately, there are also no medications to treat the problem of violence in our society, which has been growing at an alarming rate. As a surgeon at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Dr. Cooper has seen more than his fair share. He's fighting back with the Violence Intervention program, which strives to prevent violence among Baltimore City's most at-risk populations through research into the causes of violence and the development of intervention programs. The Mini Med school audience was eager to hear all about the program long after his presentation was over, so Dr. Cooper stayed to answer parents' questions about how to protect their children from a violent future.
Mini Med School will continue every Wednesday through October 1, 2008 from 6-8pm in the MSTF auditorium at 685 W. Baltimore Street. Topics include Autism, Genetics, Brain Disorders and a Nutrition and Fitness presentation from best-selling author Dr. Pamela Peeke. Classes are free, and all are welcome. Those who attend four of the five classes will receive a Mini-Med School diploma. See the Mini Med website for more information.