Sages Mini Med School: Inspiring High School Students Through Early Exposure To the Field of Surgery

James C Rosser, MD, FACS1, Charles Jacobs, BS2, Raymond Price, MD, FACS3. 1Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeons; UCF College of Medicine, 2UCF College of Medicine, 3Intermountain Health care

Objective: The SAGES Mini Med School (MMS) was designed to expose high school students to the field of surgery through mentoring, knowledge exchange and hands-on experience through simulation. This abstract profiles the description, performance metrics and satisfaction queries of this innovative effort.

Methods: 74 high school students, grades 9-12, were subjected to the SAGES Mini Med School program. The program consists of four components. There is an emotive introduction session followed by a visit to the exhibits in the SAGES learning center. A skills laboratory and an interactive finals competition are conducted and students who perform with distinction are recognized. The student’s surgical skills session consists of exercises associated with the development of open and laparoscopic surgical skills. The lab includes a warm up with the validated Super Monkey Ball video game26, Pea Drop exercise13, Peg Transfer drill27, open knot tying station, and open instrument tie station. Participants’ performance data is collected. In addition, pre and post surveys track satisfaction results.

Results: The results of the surgical skills lab were as follows. For the Super Monkey Ball task, 58 students attempted the drill with an average score of 26.2 (SD=31.6; Range=0-120; Median=15). Fifty-eight students attempted the Surgeon’s Knot and Pea Drop exercises with average times of 18 seconds (SD=40.3; Range=4-287; Median=9) and 55.2 seconds (SD=23.6; Range=22-173; Median=47.5) respectively. The Instrument Tie and Peg Pass stations had 56 students with average times of 25.8 (SD=9.3; Range=13-72; Median=24) and 216.9 seconds (SD=90.0; Range=56-446; Median=220) respectively. The results from the satisfaction surveys were overwhelmingly positive. Sixty-six (93%) agreed that the Mini Med School made them more likely to consider a career in medicine with 3 students rating “neutral” and only 2 disagreeing. When asked if the program made them more likely to consider a career in surgery, 63 (89%) agreed with 6 rating “neutral” and 2 disagreeing. All 71 respondents (100%) said that they would recommend the program to others.

Conclusion: In 2020, there will be a shortage of 85,000 physicians in the US. Early recruitment of future physicians is critical if we are to address this issue successfully. The SAGES Mini Med School was highly successful in promoting the consideration of medicine as a career and in particular the field of surgery. The results also showed that high school students can engage in surgical skills training very early in their academic careers. This could have an effect on both recruitment and accelerated skill acquisition. It is imperative that we continue to assess the impact of the Mini Med School Program with long-term studies to reveal whether the influence persists over time and results in students entering medical careers.

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