Brain surgery, science and education

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, and educator, I come across many interesting bits of information and wonderful people. I will try to share some of this with you here. While the site draws heavily from my experiences as the Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Oregon Health & Science University, and head of neurosurgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, this is a personal blog. My thanks to my wonderful OHSU colleagues, who share this exciting and rewarding work with me.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Inspiring the Next Generation

Inspiring the next generation of physicians, researchers and other health personnel is a big part of OHSU’s mission. There is lots of ways to do this.

Catlin Gabel is a local Portland school with a long and distinguished history of experiential learning. Every year Catlin puts on a unique event to interest students in science and health care. Sixty 6th grade students at Catlin participate in ‘surgery day’ and have an opportunity to handle and utilize real surgical equipment, meet surgeons and other specialist physicians, and get a ‘peek’ into what modern medicine is about.

The kids use tiny titanium plates to repair “fractures” on bone models, thread tiny catheters into simulated blood vessels, put on casts, and perform over a half dozen other realistic surgical and medical activities, under the watchful eye and tutelage of Portland area surgeons who volunteer time and equipment for the program, which is almost 20 years old.

At the 2012 surgery day, two Doernbecher faculty, Dr. Dana Braner (the Alice Fax Professor and Head of Critical Care Medicine) and your correspondent, Dr. Nathan Selden (the Campagna Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery) joined in the fun. Braner worked at a station teaching the middle school students to sew up lacerations (using pigs feet from the market place), and I used a real surgical navigation computer and drills to show students how to perform emergency neurosurgical drainage procedures.

As you can see from these photographs, Braner and I had as much fun as the kids! Education, at all levels, is a core part of our mission and our professional satisfaction at OHSU, and is a major reason that OHSU is a vital part of the Portland, Oregon, and Pacific Northwest communities.

Thanks also go to industry suppliers and partners who loaned key equipment for the program, including Medtronic who brought the items for the neurosurgery station I taught at. Thanks also to Dr. Karen Selden (not a coincidence, and the reason I was first invited to participate!), who organizes surgery day for Catlin.

Doernbecher Intensive Care Head, Dr. Dana Braner, and Surgery Day organizer, Dr. Karen Selden, with middle schoolers

Doernbecher's Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Dr. Nathan Selden, with middle schoolers

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