High school students look at the Future of Medicine

Brandeis welcomed 240 of the nation’s brightest high school students to campus for the Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine, June 22-28.

The conference provided students with unique, behind-the-scenes insight into the dynamic world of health care through experiential learning, guest lectures and networking opportunities with leaders and innovators in the global medical community.

“The next generation of health care providers will practice in an environment hard to imagine just a few years ago. Leading-edge science is rapidly changing the daily practice of health care,” said Steven Goldstein, chairman of the Global Youth Summit, provost at Brandeis, and former chair of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago. “We are in the midst of the most significant and fundamental change in health care delivery in our lifetime and young people who start now will be the future leaders in the field of medicine.”

The students attended more than a dozen talks and panel discussions during the course of the week. George Q. Daley, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, (“Stem Cells: Hype, Hope and Reality”) and Michael J. Zinner, surgeon-in-chief at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, (“My Story: Success to Failure to Success”) provided the keynote addresses. The interactive panel discussions on equity in health care and biomedical innovation featured panelists who are leaders in academic medicine, health policy and biomedicine. There also were two plenary talks, one addressing caring for women in Ethiopia with a debilitating but treatable medical condition and the other on preparing for college.

The students also were given an up-close look at medical school and the practice of medicine. They toured Harvard Medical School and clinics at two of its affiliated teaching hospitals, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, and attended two surgical case presentations back at Brandeis.

The week culminated with the students presenting their group research projects.

“The students in the global youth summit were outstanding and I was intrigued by their research projects on new approaches for preventing nerve damage during surgery and using nanobots to cure infectious diseases,” said Susan Birren, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis. “The creativity, energy, and great ideas that came together in a very short period of time was amazing.”

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