For Dr. Nana Mireku, there’s nothing like seeing 5-year-olds listen to their heartbeat for the first time.
Mireku, a pediatric allergist-immunologist, runs Little Medical School DFW and North Texas with family physician Dr. Carryl Oei, to inspire future health professionals through summer camps and other educational opportunities.
Mireku hopes LMS campers have an aha moment similar to the one she had at age 14 while in Ghana to learn more about the culture of her parents’ origin country.
After Mireku was hospitalized there and encountered many ill children, she discovered the demand for healthcare professionals and realized the positive difference medical aid could make in people’s lives.
From then on, Mireku knew she “wanted to serve and help people” through medicine.
“This is just a really fun way to engage children, teach children in a way that they’re playing, and they don’t even really know that they’re learning about science and medicine.” -Dr. Nana Mireku
“I have a passion for kids, and I have a passion for inspiring young children into science and medicine,” said Mireku.
While playing veterinarian, pharmacist, nurse, dentist, or physician, children don’t realize how much they’re learning, Mireku said. “This is just a really fun way to engage children, teach children in a way that they’re playing, and they don’t even really know that they’re learning about science and medicine.”
Trained instructors help campers explore various career pathways in medicine, depending on each child’s interests. Animal-lovers can be veterinarians, for instance, or sports-lovers can be orthopedic surgeons. “Our real mission is just to expose children to medicine and science,” she said.
Children learn medical terminology with a curriculum designed by physicians and educators, incorporating STEM (science technology, engineering, and mathematics) into the learning experience.
Campers use science to learn anatomy, technology to record patient information, engineering to ideate medical solutions, and math to calculate medication doses. Campers engage in hands-on activities and medical scenarios, including suturing, first aid, reading X-Rays, and working with medical equipment.
“We really wanted to provide different options to engage children and get them excited about medicine, STEM, and science.”
After a 15-hour weekday camp, campers celebrate their first venture into medicine with a graduation ceremony, receiving a diploma with parents in attendance.
Mireku finds it particularly rewarding when children apply learnings beyond camp.
Possibilities include teaching parents about medical terms, wanting to give medical exams, conquering phobias of pediatric visits due to their familiarity with medical tools, or baking dog biscuits for their pet using a recipe acquired at Little Veterinarian School.
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