Success of inaugural CampMED at OUWB prompts immediate second session
An image of an OUWB faculty and participants at CampMED
Abram Brummett, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, oversees CampMED participants using one of the kits from BackyardBrains.

A summer outreach program hosted by OUWB had such a successful run in June that the school is hosting a second session in July.

The program is CampMED, a two-day event held June 25-26 that gave local high schoolers a look into careers in medicine.

CampMED is an evolution of the OUWB Online Summer Enrichment Program, which previously took place over the course of five days, with sessions held virtually on four of the days and in person on the fifth.

The updated version proved a hit: OUWB received almost 250 applications for the program.
Tonya Bailey, Ph.D., associate dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Community Engagement, said that prompted officials to offer a second session July 23-24. (The session is full.)

“Exposure matters,” she said. “We believe in [having] more opportunities to present to our students in the community with what they can be and their potential. Allowing them to engage with our medical profession and professionals is key.”

Bailey explained why the decision was made to condense the previously week-long event into a couple of days.

“We thought, how cool would it be to compartmentalize and compact everything into two days, and allow more experts from the field, with our faculty and physicians, to come and engage with our potential new medical students,” she said.

Allowing that opportunity while experiencing it in person was the biggest focus heading into CampMED.

An image of Tonya Bailey hugging a CampMED participant

Tonya Bailey, Ph.D., associate dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Community Engagement, hugs a CampMED participants receiving a certificate of completion. 

“Bringing them right here on campus and giving them campus tours, letting them touch, see, feel and hear real-life experiences around medicine is key to them exploring all that they want to be,” said Bailey.

On the first day, students were introduced to the human body's inner workings through a tour of OUWB’s anatomy lab with Malli Barremkala, M.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies. Students were also trained in CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, and how to use an AED.

Day two allowed students to engage with a panel of current medical students and learn about neurotechnologies by controlling the actions of their peers through Backyard Brains mind control kits.

OUWB’s current students took the role of mentors and found as much value in providing their knowledge and guidance as the camp attendees did in receiving it.

“I’m interested in ophthalmology,” said Rahul Shamarayar, a rising M2. “It’s cool to come here and talk to students who are interested in ophthalmology or get them interested in ophthalmology, and ultimately spread my interest and passion to others.”

Asher Odisho, a rising M2 who also volunteered, likened the experience to when he was younger, coming into the medical field himself.

An image of the participants of the inaugural CampMED

Participants in the inaugural CampMED at OUWB pose for a group photo.

“When I was their age, I had very kind people also take time out of their day to explore medicine and ophthalmology,” he said. “I really appreciated it and because of those people, I feel like I started this path earlier and with more confidence.”

As a result, Odisho felt it necessary to give back to those attending CampMED.

“I want to also pass down the legacy. Give that same confidence and shed the same light that they did to these high schoolers and let them know how cool this specialty is and give them a taste of it,” said Odisho.

The high school students who attended CampMED said they took a lot away from the experience.

“I want to become a cardiac surgeon, being here affirmed that,” said Sarankshan Kohli, 15.

Like Kohli, other students also attended because they previously had an interest in medicine.

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“(CampMED) definitely nurtured our interest and grew it and allowed us to work more and talk to more experienced people,” said Selma Allam, 16. “It’s like (getting) our foot in the door.”

Zainab Ahmed,16, expanded on Allam’s thoughts.

“With the medical students and emergency medics, it was really helpful to know about their medical journey, especially for students like us who are in high school and trying to do that ourselves.”

At the program’s conclusion, students received certificates to recognize their efforts. Students were also given a chance to evaluate the program.

Looking ahead, Bailey said the program will continue to strive to deliver the best experience by incorporating students’ feedback and making continuous enhancements.

“We take students' voices very seriously,” Bailey said. “We look to enhance, improve and then expand. We want them to know that we hear them and that their voices matters.

“We want to be cutting edge,” she concluded.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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