The Earliest Mentorship: Fifth Graders Learn About Medicine

Demonstrating our commitment to mentorship at the earliest ages, the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center recently hosted dozens of potential health care providers for an exciting day of learning and fun. The fifth graders, all from St. Ignatius Loyola School in Manhattan, explored the fields of neurosurgery, laboratory medicine, trauma, hematology, and pathology, and even got a lesson in what to do about bleeding.

Three groups of 20 students each toured different areas of the hospital. One session, led by fifth-year neurosurgical resident Benjamin Hartley, MD, and physician assistant Allison Basham, guided students in a mock brain surgery. Students “operated” on green bell pepper “brains” using endoscopic surgical techniques to remove the tiny seed “tumors.” After that, Dr. Hartley invited them to perform a craniotomy by cutting open the pepper and using tweezers to remove the tumors.

Students were also given a tour of the hematology and pathology labs, where they observed the various machines used to test blood and got a close look at a microscope. They then went downstairs to the trauma lab where Dr. David J. Pisapia gave a demonstration of the different parts of the brain and what each area is in charge of. At the close of their visit, students were given a demonstration from Rob Curran on how to stop bleeding in an emergency.

Throughout the tour, the students were engaged with games, workshops, and lectures, and they took every opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions.  Their excitement about performing surgery, demonstrating first aid skill, and playing blood donor games was palpable. This collaboration across departments, spearheaded by physician assistant Suzan Wollard in Neurosurgery, Lya Montella of Cytogenetics, and Anthony Borriello of the NYPWC More Than A Specimen Laboratory Team, was a proud moment for New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medicine.

Neurological Surgery 525 E. 68th St., Starr 651, Box 99 New York, NY 10065