Medical school in a day

Medical school in a day

CPET brings teachers in the classroom … to learn

By Bridget Higginbotham

Psychology resident Audrey Lyn Baumeister talks to a group of high school science teachers about cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder during Mini Medical School.

Sometimes, even teachers need a field trip, and Mini Medical School has been giving educators that hands-on, face-to-face experience for 10 years.

A decade ago, it was difficult to get teachers to attend, said Julie Bokor, who coordinates UF’s Mini Medical School. But the enrollment for the Nov. 15 event included about 90 teachers from 22 counties.

As part of Mini Medical School, teachers spend the day touring labs across the Health Science Center and listening to physicians and scientists during university-style lectures. This allows the middle and high school teachers to learn about the latest medical developments firsthand instead of from a textbook or journal.

“I like how down to earth and excited the researchers are about what they’re doing and (how they) want to tell you about it,” said Cheri Dennen, a biology teacher from North Port High School in Sarasota County and a two-time Mini Medical School participant. “The excitement is very motivational to see.”

The annual one-day in-service opportunity is coordinated by the UF Center for Precollegiate Education and Training with funding provided by the UF Medical Guild and Shands HealthCare.

This year’s focus was psychiatry and included topics such as addiction, obesity and personality disorders. Health science teacher Trish Shimer from Titusville High School will use examples from her lab visit about obsessive-compulsive disorder in her upcoming lesson on mental disorders. Shimer has taken part in the program seven times and looks forward to attending every year.

“I appreciate CPET doing this for us because it provides us with so much information on new technology and new research to take back to kids to get them fired up and interested,” Shimer said.