Cass Technical High School and University of Michigan Medical School kick off collaboration to stimulate interest in careers in the medical field for students in under-served areas

Cass Technical High School is kicking off a new partnership with the University of Michigan Medical School as part of a larger effort to connect the Medical School with high schools in under-served areas and to stimulate minority students’ interest in careers in the medical field.

Activities will focus on academic preparation, career enrichment, individual mentoring and hands-on training at the medical school for 20 Cass Technical High School ninth grade students.

The four-year partnership between the students and the medical school will launch with a panel discussion by Dr. John Carethers, chair of Internal Medicine (and a Cass Tech alum), and Lisa Newman, a breast oncologist recently named a Michiganian of the Year by the Detroit News and featured in O Magazine.  The panel also will include residents and medical students and will focus on what it takes to have a career in medicine, what sacrifices must be made, and what are the rewards.

Throughout the year at the University of Michigan, Cass Tech students will be exposed to a variety of experiences to further their interest in science and medicine, including spending a day in the anatomy lab, participating in a virtual surgical training session at the Clinical Simulation Center and experiencing how to conduct an operation using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for our students to have hands-on experiences from physicians, and others in allied health professions, including nurses, physical and occupational therapists, physician assistants, and radiology technicians,” said Cass Tech Principal Lisa Phillips. “Our students are sure to benefit from this partnership, which will expand their interest in and access to science and medical careers.”

The students also will spend a morning shadowing a physician in the outpatient clinic and attend a medical student research presentation. Students will each be assigned a mentor from among the medical students, someone they can call for advice and with whom they can form a long-lasting relationship. Time will also be devoted to Global Health, where the students will interact with faculty of the School of Public Health who are actively engaged in health projects throughout the world.

Over the course of the year, students will work in groups on their own health-related capstone projects to be presented at the end of the year.

“Despite the wealth of talented young people from Detroit, very few faculty, residents or medical students at the University of Michigan are from Detroit,” said Jonathan F. Finks, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Director, Adult Bariatric Surgery Program, University of Michigan.  “The University of Michigan has one of the top medical schools in the country with a strong national and international reach in our applications and admission, but we come up short when it comes to our ability to attract and train talented minority students from our own state.”

“The long-term goal is to extend this program to high schools throughout the state as a way of attracting young, talented students from under-served areas into careers in medicine and helping to prepare them for success in the future,” Dr. Finks said.

During the year, the offices of admissions and financial aid from the University of Michigan will present workshops for the students and their parents focused on improving understanding of the admissions and financial aid processes.

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