WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) Pediatric Interest Group (PIG) hosted its first in-person Mini-Medical School since Fall 2019. Mini-Medical School has allowed WesternU COMP students to hone their skills as future pediatric physicians while inspiring youth, kindergarteners through second graders, to one day become doctors themselves.

The bi-annual event, held on Saturday, April 4, hosted about 60 kindergarten and second-grade students for the 2022 Mini-Medical School. About 35 COMP PIG students with an interest in pediatric medicine invested their time to create engaging activities for these young minds. They provided hands-on lessons in scrubbing-in, sutures, bones and X-rays, hearts sound and pulses, and medical equipment.

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First-year COMP student and President of the PIG, Collette Haddadin, said COMP students interested in pediatric medicine look forward to this annual event because it is a great way to increase their passion for the field by working with their future patient population. “It is very exciting for students to increase their passion so that they know that this is the career choice for them,” Haddadin said. “It’s also an excellent way for us to connect with our community because participants might be coming here to become physicians themselves someday.”

Nate Alton, father of kindergarten student Quinn Alton held off telling her he signed her up for Mini-Medical School until only a few days beforehand because he knew she would be excited to do this. “Once I told her a few days ago that we were coming she has been asking non-stop because she always says she wants to be a doctor, so hopefully, she will go to school here one day to become a physician,” he said.

“Many families who are at home on the WesternU Pomona campus were once again able to connect to an outstanding interaction with talented and dedicated WesternU students, through the efforts of staff members Maria Moreno, Alejandra Cervantes-Ramirez and Helen Musharbash”, said COMP Professor of Anatomy and Associate Provost Elizabeth Rega, PhD. “The COMP-Northwest campus in Oregon innovated the idea of a Mini-Medical School to inspire local youth to see themselves as future medical students and physicians. The COMP PIG on the Pomona campus has led an outstanding hands-on curriculum for its own Mini-Medical School since 2018, with logistical, material and fiscal support provided since inception by the department now called the Center for Academic Community Engagement (ACE)”.

ACE is a unit of the Office of Mission Integration that connects WesternU student clubs, Colleges and individual students with the community to support engagement in health and educational outreach activities.