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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

High schoolers get a taste of medical practice at special UW event in Spokane

From left, first-year medical student Divya Puvvadi smiles as Valley Christian sophomore Cloie Isley, 16, uses an ultrasound machine to check the blood flow in her mother, Coylene Isley’s, carotid artery, with guidance from first-year medical student Nik Anderson. Her father, Dale Isley, watches during an afternoon for local high school students to learn about practicing medicine on Friday at the UW-GU Health Partnership Building in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Dozens of Spokane-area high school students gathered at the UW School of Medicine Friday afternoon to learn what it means to have a career in health care.

As part of Greater Spokane Incorporated’s Business AfterSchool program, the after-school session allowed students to examine heart and lung specimens, perform physical exams and attend a panel made up of medical students, professors and current residents at local hospitals.

First-year medical students and event organizers Cate Marken and Maxey Cherel hope the hands-on experience gives students the ability to see themselves in health care.

“For me, this was a cool event to kind of give back to my own community that I come from. I come from a family that no one’s ever been in health care. So I want to kind of be an ally in a way for students to just kind of learn more in high school and get exposed,” Cherel said.

Because of her background, Cherel has often felt an “imposter syndrome” when pursuing her medical education. She doesn’t want any of these students to feel the same.

“If I had had that opportunity like this, I think I would have just felt like I belonged,” she said.

A sophomore at Mead High School, Owen Cahill said he is fascinated by how the human body works and hopes to learn more about it through a career in surgery.

“I just want to know how stuff works, honestly,” Cahill said when asked what he hopes to learn at the event.

Recently, he dissected a cow’s eye in a high school class and had “not gotten queasy,” he said proudly.

“I just like to learn about how the mechanics of the body work. Like this does this to that make this happen,” he said.

More students need to be encouraged to work in health care, Business AfterSchool career pathway manager Matthew Himlie said.

“Health care is a huge field in Spokane. And it’s a big driver of our economy. There are a lot of jobs there we want young people to be aware of,” he said.

Valley Christian Sophomore Cloie Isley got to give her family a physical exam with the help of several medical students.

“I really liked getting to see in real time. Not only getting education but experiencing how it feels,” she said.

It is physical experience even first-year medical students do not get, Marken said.

“We don’t even get to do really until we’ve been in school for a little bit. So I think learning a little bit about how the heart works and what doctors do in a regular office visit is great for them to get a taste of what it might be like,” she said.

Marken recommends high schoolers interested in health care try to reach out to medical students or health care workers.

“We are very happy to help and encourage. Just be willing to be curious, ask questions and know that they do belong,” she said.