Twenty-five faculty members share stories on Doctors' Day
By Will Sansom
More than 3,000 San Antonio area middle school and high school students received a special “house call” March 26 from UT Health Science Center San Antonio health care professionals as part of National Doctors’ Day.
The 25 doctors, primarily physicians, including UT Health Science Center President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, and School of Medicine Dean Francisco González-Scarano, M.D., visited 25 area schools to discuss their careers and to encourage students to consider becoming part of the next generation of health providers.
The speakers represented a wide range of specialties including neurosurgery, ophthalmology, emergency medicine, radiology, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, neurology and nephrology.
Dr. González, a neurologist who also serves as vice president for medical affairs at the Health Science Center, posed many questions to students during his visit to Health Careers High School.
Can you name a disease that a neurologist treats?
Anyone ever have an MRI of the brain?
What is dementia?
How long does it take to become a medical doctor?
Students presented their thoughts and Dr. González discussed his experience gained from four decades in medicine.
One of the interesting discussions was about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a technology that is has been available for about 25 years. When it was developed, it was called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), but the word “nuclear” was dropped to make it more palatable to the public, Dr. González said, particularly since it is based on magnetism, not radioactivity.
“Before we had MRIs, we had a difficult time seeing into the brain,” he said. “Nature put the brain inside this thick bone because it is very soft and has to be protected. The secondary effect is that it cannot be visualized as easily as other organs.”
The brain is the organ that makes us who we are, he said. “If it is dead, nothing else matters.”
Discussing dementia, he told the students, “As we age, we all lose some cognitive quickness. We make up for it with experience.” Dementia involves a loss of the ability to use our experiences to solve problems, he said.
Stellar Texas researcher saves lives
President Henrich, a nephrologist, spoke to a separate group of students at Health Careers. He told the story of a Texas physician, Donnall Thomas, M.D., who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1990 for stem cell transplant research that has extended the lives of thousands of leukemia patients. He also said in a televised segment on the visit that “Helping other people is dedicating your life to something worthwhile, indeed.”
Students and teachers enjoy presentations
Irene Chapa, Ph.D., director of the Health Science Center’s Office of Recruitment and Science Outreach, said, “I had the privilege of visiting many of the schools to hear the presentations. Everywhere I went I received extremely positive feedback from the teachers and school administrators.
“I enjoyed watching the attentiveness of the students and their inquisitiveness. I could tell that they enjoyed hearing the many different paths our doctors have taken towards their chosen specialty,” she said.
Faculty relate to students
Following a presentation, Daniele Delgado, a teacher at Providence Catholic School, said, “Our speaker, Dr. Sophie Pina, is an alumna of our school. That information alone made her presentation really resonate with the students as they felt that if she could accomplish so much and come from a background and education similar to their own, that they could also achieve such successes. They especially enjoyed her discussion about balancing family life with education and career life.” Dr. Pina is associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Destiny Salinas, a student at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy, shared her thoughts about the presentation of Dina Tom, M.D., a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics. “My experience with listening to Dr. Tom allowed me to gain back some confidence and not give up hope for what I do not have at the moment. After hearing her speak, I felt much more content with who I was, as well as who I could become. Her way of relating to us was beyond great because she gave us clarity that she, too, was not at the top of her class nor did she have the highest scores with her SAT, [and she was] dealing with some of the same struggles. There is no way to thank her for the faith I have gained back and the wakeup call she has given me.”
See more pictures from Doctor’s Day on Facebook and Twitter.
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