Kong Neyail, a student at Grand View Christian School, literally felt the impact of smoking by holding a smoker’s lung and comparing it to a nonsmoker’s lung. His classmate, Grant DeMeulenaere, was excited to hold an actual human heart and to see the cadavers in the anatomy lab. These two high school students and more than 250 other students and teachers learned about heart health, anatomy, STEM careers and much more at “Live from the Heart,” a hands-on event held at Des Moines University on Feb. 23.
“This is part of our mission and our opportunity to prepare the next generation of health professionals,” says DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., who greeted the participants.
The event was organized primarily by DMU students; more than 50 volunteered to staff its tours and activities. The day featured a screening of an actual open heart surgery, guided by Gary Hoff, D.O., FACOI, FACC, a cardiologist and emeritus faculty member at DMU; tours of the University’s campus and anatomy lab; and hands-on activities in the Olsen Center, including anatomy specimens, intubation and heart sounds using medical mannequins, surgical knot tying and demonstrations of osteopathic manual medicine techniques, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and ultrasound and laparoscopy machines.
In addition, volunteers for the American Heart Association, instructed students on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Students gained exposure to science and health care careers, sharper observation and communication skills, and a greater understanding of how lifestyle choices affect personal health.
“I wanted to get involved in this event because it’s so important for people to see what we’re going here at Des Moines University,” says first-year osteopathic medical student Jacob Gianuzzi, one of the event organizers. “Osteopathic medicine is super-important for people to get that vision and understand what we’re all about. Getting students here, getting youth here is really important to get more people interested in it.”
The energy and engagement of all participants were highly evident.
“Proud of these students and their work at Des Moines University,” tweeted Kristen Souza, an instructional coach at Prairie City-Monroe High School. “They got out of the comfort zones and learned a lot!”