Eastern Iowa students get a glimpse of ‘junior’ medical school

Through a unique partnership, students from a number of eastern Iowa high schools are getting the chance to experience medical school before ever applying.

Students enrolled in “Junior Medical School” had a chance to get a hands-on look at plasticized organs at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Wed. Dec 4, 2019. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is partnering with Kirkwood Community College’s Workplace Learning Connection to give 388 students during the school year a chance to be in a different kind of classroom for an afternoon.

Students met with doctors and medical students currently at the University of Iowa to learn more about the industry, what school is like, and how they can enter the medical field.

“It’s a really great opportunity to go out and see if it’s for you or not,” Tyler Orme, a sophomore at Cedar Rapids Washington High School, said.

Orme said even though he is only a sophomore in high school, he has already been giving thought to what he wants to pursue for a career.

“I always thought about medicine as a possible opportunity for me and a new challenge for myself,” Orme said. “So I decided to pick this one to kind of see if medical school is right for me or not.”

Students took the afternoon asking questions about pursuing a career in medicine, learning how to diagnose a patient, and getting a hands-on look at some plasticized organs.

Exploring an interest in medicine is something Dr. Brooks Obr knows well. Born and raised in Iowa City, he too, wanted to follow a path of medicine.

“I really want them to take away how great it is to be a health care provider,” Obr said. “And also that it takes a lot of work to get there but it’s entirely worth it.”

Even though med school is still years away for these students, Orme said it is important to start planning now.

“A lot of my friends, we always talk about politics and what we want to be,” Orme said. “I think it’s more something with our generation where we’re really thinking about what we want to do in our futures.”

UIHC and Kirkwood Community College will host these junior medical school programs through the end of the school year.

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