This past June, VCU School of Medicine held a camp for high school students interested in careers in medicine or science. A total of 25 students attended the weeklong Camp Cardiac in Richmond, one of 26 cities taking part in the national program.
“This was the first year a camp was offered in Richmond. It was organized by second-year VCU Health student Ameya Chumble and a team of his fellow students who simply did a phenomenal job,” says Jordana Kron, M.D., associate professor of cardiology and program director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship, who was among the doctors participating in the clinic.
Chumble helped organize the camp because he “wanted to give back” by providing the sort of educational experiences that he did not have access to growing up and going to school in the smaller towns of Martinsville and Danville.
The high school students, who were selected after an application process that included an essay, took part in a cardiology-focused curriculum that included lectures by physicians, CPR training, an anatomy lecture and pig heart dissection, a suture-tying clinic, and a live surgery observation.
“The best part was that there were
a lot of hands-on activities—they were not passively sitting in a classroom,”
says Chumble. “The students found the camp very educational and had a really good time.”
Kron taught the students about ECGs and also brought in a patient with a history of sudden cardiac death to talk about his experiences. As he shared his medical history, the students examined his ECGs and images from his cardiac catheterization and other studies.
“The students were enthusiastic and engaged,” says Dr. Kron. “They asked great questions.”
The program was so successful that the camp will return to campus next year. VCU Health is also eligible to debut its sister program, Camp Neuro.
“I think Camp Cardiac is a fantastic idea because it is very important for young students to know that science and medicine can be exciting,” she says. “Careers in these fields can be challenging and meaningful, and it can be very motivating for young students to see what the end result of working hard in school could be.”
TOP: JORDANA KRON, M.D. (CENTER) WITH CAMP CARDIAC STUDENTS. / LEFT: CAMP CARDIAC STUDENTS WITH ORGANIZER AMEYA CHUMBLE. / RIGHT: CAMP CARDIAC ORGANIZER AMEYA CHUMBLE WATCHES STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN A SURGICAL KNOTS WORKSHOP, LED BY CARDIOLOGY FELLOW RYAN MELCHIOR, M.D.