It was hard to tell who was having more fun at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest on April 16 — the medical students or the kindergartners.
Medical student Erin Harrington held hands with young students as they strutted to each station, all with big grins on their faces.
Kindergartners learned about organ function, skeletal structure and germs at the third annual Mini Medical School.
“It’s good to see how much the kids already know,” said COMP-Northwest student Long Nguyen. “They’re pretty smart.”
Nguyen helped man the hand-washing station, where kids got a squirt of some fake germs before they were sent to wash their hands.
The kids’ hands were checked under a special light to see how well they washed up.
“I’m curious how well my son does,” said Amy Schlabach of her son Gabe.
He and his group washed their hands well.
Other stations gave kindergartners a chance to explore things they may not consider every day.
Kids suited up in caps, gowns and gloves before going into surgery.
“Getting the gloves on is really entertaining,” said Linda Martin, who worked at the surgery station for the last three years. Martin is the medical education manager for COMP-Northwest.
Once at the surgery station, kids talked about the importance and function of the Velcroed organs they removed from classmates.
They learned how much air their lungs can hold, and what it means when their tummies rumble.
“It’s such a joy to see the kids get excited,” said Louise Muscato, Ph.D. “We’re growing future doctors for Oregon here, starting with kindergartners.”
About 260 kids attended from all six Lebanon elementary schools, said Jeannie Davis, assistant director of admissions.
The flow was better this year, Davis added.
The stations stayed the same, but class arrival times were spaced farther apart, she said.
“It’s awesome to have the younger generation introduced to higher education,” Martin said. “It will be less intimidating to them when they see it young.”