Med students offer education on heart health at Camp Cardiac

Medical students led a workshop on dissecting pig hearts during Camp Cardiac at the UMKC School of Medicine.
Medical students led a workshop on dissecting pig hearts during Camp Cardiac at the UMKC School of Medicine.

Day camp at the UMKC School of Medicine is more than fun and games.

Following a one-hour crash course on normal heart physiology, a group of local high school students are testing their newly gained knowledge in a rousing game of Jeopardy. That’s followed by a learning session on maintaining a healthy heart through exercise.

Then it’s time to break into small groups to work on presentations that focus on assigned heart health topics. And that’s just the morning session of Camp Cardiac, a weeklong program at the UMKC School of Medicine from June 18-22. The camp emphasizes on education and real world experiences, said fourth-year medical student Brandon Trandai.

UMKC medical students lead the program with 24 participants from area high school. Trandai, one of the student volunteers for this first UMKC Camp Cardiac, said participants receive scrubs, stethoscopes and a binder of information on each of the week’s lectures.

“Camp cardiac is aimed at providing high school students interested in medicine a starting point as they pursue their careers,” Trandai said. “Students are able to talk to individuals on the road to getting into medical school and learn from others’ experiences.”

With a focus on the care and maintenance of the human cardiovascular system, the medical students and physician experts lead individual workshops on heart health with an integrated emphasis on diet and exercise.

Each day is packed with activities such as dissecting pig hearts, CPR training, learning to take vital patient information, and conducting simple physical exams for heart and lung health.

Camp Cardiac is a national program for high school students ages 15 and older. It is offered at nearly 40 medical schools across the United States. Participants receive a graduation certificate at the completion of the program.

The idea for a UMKC Camp Cardiac began with Hunter Faris, a fourth-year student who met with the founder of Camp Cardiac Inc. With the aid of a number of students, the group worked for nearly two years on the logistics of bringing the program to the School of Medicine.  More than 30 second, third and fourth-year medical students served as counselors and guest lecturers. Members of the UMKC facility also gave guest lectures.

Carol Stanford, M.D., associate professor of medicine and docent, served as the program’s faculty advisor. Trandai said Brenda Rogers, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, also helped the students throughout the past year prepare to launch the program.