Last week UNLV School of Medicine hosted the first ever CAMPMED in Las Vegas.
CAMPMED is a pipeline program that aims to inspire students to consider a career in the health care field. Fifty high school students from the Las Vegas Valley attended the three-day event at UNLV. Kenneth Rosenthal, MD Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Roseman University of the Health Sciences, led the program. While in Ohio he led a similar very successful program.
CAMPMED was a huge success. In addition to the 50 enthusiastic students, it included faculty from all of Nevada's medical schools and community physicians. The Desert Meadows Area Health Education Center (DMAHEC), which is a service of Vegas PBS sponsored the program. CAMPMED was a collaboration of College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College, Roseman University of Health Sciences, Touro University Nevada, UNLV and UNLV School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Reno, and Western Governors University - Nevada.
A couple of the highlights of the three-day event included a session where students learned about patient cases and worked through what physicians call the "differential diagnosis". This is a long list of possible diseases that can cause the signs and symptoms a patient presents when they seek treatment. The differential diagnosis list can be long or short, depending on the experience of the physician completing the patient history and physical examination. The session took students from this stage to ordering the tests needed to get a "definitive diagnosis", to receiving the test results back, to making the diagnosis of the patient's disease. The students really enjoyed working through these exercises.
Another session included several doctors, including myself who discussed how we ended up in medicine and in our particular specialty. I shared my story with the students and explained how my
husband, Bill knew he wanted to be a doctor. He went straight through medical school as fast as he could and became a pulmonary and critical care internist. I, on the other hand, never thought about medicine as a career until after college, was married, and had children. My husband and father both encouraged me to think about medicine as a career. So after my children started school I became a pathologist.
I was interested in research. When I thought about research and the kind of patient care I could do, it became clear pathology was the right specialty for me. It's an academic specialty with teaching at its core. It would allow me to do research and have an active clinical career.
I had a fulfilling career as a cytopathologist, which is looking at cells in a microscope to make a diagnosis if cancer is present or not. The specimens are usually Pap smears or needle aspirations from any site in the body. Early on I became very involved in administration, which helped me build the career path to my current position as founding dean of the UNLV School of Medicine.
Pipeline programs are important for encouraging students to consider a career in a medical field, such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, laboratory technician, speech and hearing, physician's assistant, crime scene investigator, etc. All are great careers.
CAMPMED was a fun and positive experience for both the students and faculty. When the students first arrived there were only a few who thought they might explore a career in medicine. By the end, nearly all said they wanted to be doctors. Thank you everyone who worked so hard to make CAMPMED a success.