Around 50 Lakeside High School students recently took advantage of the Medical Outreach Curriculum and Simulation (MOCAS) for a learning experience unlike anything they’ve had before. The program allowed the students to work through various simulation stations in the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons to get hands-on experience. The practical experience included: CPR on a hi-fidelity mannequin, learning how to move physically disabled or sick patients, oxygen therapy, intubation, setting up IV’s and wound care.
Dr. Vikas Kumar, associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, said events like this are a benefit not only to the high school students interested in the medical field, but current medical students.
“Medical students play a critical role in organizing such workshops. Many of them mentioned they never had such hands-on workshops when they were in high school and greatly see the value in these workshops,” said Kumar. “They taught for hours with lots of enthusiasm and excitement and the willingness to participate in any future workshops like this.”
“The med students have been so essential to this experience. But as we’ve grown, the need for interdisciplinary help has also become important. One of the most rewarding parts is not just how much the kids enjoy it, but also how much the students love to do it. We’ve had many returning volunteers, which is great and allows us to improve even faster,” added Aleena Bubb.
Bubb and Ajay Patel, fourth-year medical students, are co-presidents of the MOCAS organization.
For the high school students, it was a good way to introduce them into a field they may be considering.
“I think workshops like these can make a big difference on kids possibly interested in science and/or health care by creating a lasting impression. These workshops give them an opportunity to feel empowered through learning and practicing higher-level health care skills in a safe setting. It is also an opportunity for them to learn about the different possible pathways in the health care field and gain mentors if they’d like one,” said Bubb, student assistant at MCG.
MOCAS was started in 2021 and A.R. Johnson School and Augusta Christian Schools have also taken
advantage of the program. This was their largest event yet as far as students and instructors and the level of interdisciplinary involvement.
It’s the hands-on approach that has garnered the most attention in getting students interested in the various medical fields.
“All our stations were interactive and hands-on, which encouraged the students to try new things and ask questions to learn how to do the skills correctly. There’s not a chance to sit back because you have to pay attention to learn how to do the task. I overheard so many conversations on the context of these skills and about the different health care pathways,” Bubb said.
Having the sim center really enables the program to run at a high level.
“We are fortunate to have such an awesome simulation place with Augusta University. We are able to reach out to the community and provide exposure to health care situations to school kids. Everyone from the team of medical, nursing and allied health made significant contributions,” Kumar said.
Kumar also indicated there is another program aimed at even younger kids.
“Community Initiative of First Responders program started in 2018 and teaches elementary and middle school kids about taking care of life-threatening events like fire, earthquakes, stopping the bleeding, etc. using simulation and hands-on workshops. Both organizations are run by medical students at Augusta University,” added Kumar.