Camp Cardiac is a week long day program with the “primary focus on care and maintenance of the heart,” run by local medical students across the nation, and it “serves as an ideal introduction for any high school student interested in exploring a career in medicine.” Students are provided with the opportunity to learn directly from experts in the medical field, to engage in healthy living activities, and to prepare themselves for their future careers as doctors and surgeons. Over 30 cities in the United States host the camp, including Birmingham, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
From Monday, July 30th to Friday, August 3rd this summer, Camp Cardiac Los Angeles took place at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Daily from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, students had full days of lectures and workshops that certainly didn’t bore them. On the first day of the camp, there was a scavenger hunt around the whole campus, allowing students to go on a tour and to get the general feel of medical school that was not too far for them in their futures. Over the week, informational lectures were given by interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, sonogram (ultrasound) nurses, an occupational therapist in training, and medical students attending the Keck School of Medicine.
These lectures enabled the teenagers to directly communicate with professionals who answered many questions about the medical field. Students participated in many educational activities, such as suturing a pig’s foot, dissecting a pig’s heart, training and getting CPR certified, having mock patient interviews, learning how to measure heart rate and blood pressure, and engaging in lengthy discussions with their fellow peers.
Placing an emphasis on diet and exercise for a healthy heart, a hearty lunch was provided daily, and students performed at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as playing tag and walking across the school. On the final day, a USC Admissions Advisor came and spoke with the high school students about general college admissions and the specific USC application process. And then the camp concluded with a bittersweet gathering, which included ice-cream. As the attendees prepared their hearts to say goodbye to all their new friends they still left feeling grateful and happy that they were able to partake in this insightful experience.
Daniela Ortega, a junior from Los Angeles, personally enjoyed the lectures, as “various individuals who worked specifically with the heart allowed those who attended to comprehend the extent of study and dedication needed to become a future medical professional.” She says it helped her to understand the path of becoming a doctor, and it all just made her want to become a cardiologist more.
Monica Amirian, a junior from Glendale, added that Camp Cardiac gave her “a way to get out of the house, learn something new, and still have fun.” She appreciated learning how to suture, dissecting, and meeting the speakers and new people.
Overall, the students were thankful of this opportunity that brought them a step closer to achieving their dreams in the medical field.
Noorim Oh, Grade 11
North Hollywood High School