Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

High school students get insider’s view of medical profession

touro students, 7/15/13

Touro University professor Dr. Janet Burns, center, teaches stretching techniques to Mare Island Technology Academy seniors Mikaela Cunanan, 16, left, and Alexandra Daniels, 16, as part of the 2013 Biotech Academy Touro Summer Internship program. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

VALLEJO — Eptisam Lambo knows she wants a career in medicine. Her early choice is neurosurgery.

The incoming Mare Island Technology Academy senior may reconsider her specialty after attending the 2013 Biotech Academy Touro Summer Internship. A workshop on osteopathic medicine, presented by Dr. Janet Burns, piqued her interest.

This is the second year for the free program, the goal of which is to expose local high school students to the world of medicine. Touro University professors volunteer their time.

Dr. Shin Murakami, a Touro professor, organizes the program.

“They learn what they need to know and how to prepare to become physicians,” he said of the interns.

The osteopathic element makes it even more unusual: Touro is one of about 30 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the country.

Over the course of  three sessions, each with different topics, the students were exposed to everything from aging to the study of diseases. Dissecting a sheep’s brain was also part of the curriculum. Interns also received an introduction into research by Murakami.

Burns led the teens through some isometric exercises after explaining what osteopathic medicine was.

“We focus on every muscle in the body,” she said.

Burns made an analogy, comparing when a mechanic takes care of the car’s alignment to an osteopathic doctor doing the same with the body. She pulled posters off the classroom wall to show students the body’s lymphatic system and 206 bones.

“Osteopathic manipulative medicine is a not a spectator sport, so we’re going to have to get down and dirty,” Burns said.

She worked as a rural doctor and delivered babies before specializing in osteopathic medicine. She said now she’s living in the best of both worlds. She gives her time to the internship program to educate the students.

“They are not learning this in school,” she said of good health practices. “If they play high school sports, they may get to do some stretching.”

Burns was exposed to osteopathic medicine early in life, watching her mother recover from a car accident with the help of chiropractors.

“The body heals itself but we take too much credit for the healing,” she said of doctors.

Lambo, who hopes to attend Stanford University, said she’s learned a lot through the internship and even overcame a brief fear of handling a human brain.

“I thought it was going to be freaky,” she said. “It was normal.”

Murakami received about 50 applications, including some from the San Jose area, for this year’s internship program. Eleven students were chosen after submitting information on why they wanted to participate, a one-page curriculum vitae and a teacher’s recommendation.

He said he hopes the interns who choose medicine for a career will become part of a “big helping loop” and end up giving back to their community.

That’s what Kevin Machino is doing. He’s helping out with the summer internship program as he prepares to enter his first year of medical school at Touro.

“I’ve done a lot of community work,” he said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Like Murakami, Machino said he feels the student internship program is a great place for high school students to learn if medicine is a good fit, in part because it involves a lot of study.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

What is Touro University?

  • Established in 1997, it offers graduate degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, public health and education.
  • It’s part of the Touro College and University System, founded in 1970, and consists of Jewish-sponsored nonprofit institutions of higher and professional education. There are approximately 19,000 Touro students at 32 campuses in five countries. Almost 1,400 attend the campus on Mare Island.
  • The institution derives its name from Judah and Isaac Touro, leaders of colonial America.
  • The university observes the Jewish calendar. Offices close at 3 p.m. Friday to allow for travel prior to sundown that day, the beginning of Sabbath.
  • All food served on campus, as well as at university-sponsored events, is kosher.

Students and staff run a free clinic Thursdays at the Norman C. King Community Center, 545 Magazine St., Vallejo. Services include screening physical exams, osteopathic manipulative medicine, health education, medication review, blood pressure check and immunizations. For information, call 653-6331.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
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Discussion | 1 comment

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  • SolanoBusinessIncubator.ComJuly 23, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Medicine appears to be a good career for the long haul. We here helped Intercoast College grow. Intercoast College is a well known medical assistant training program right here in our great Fairfield! Intercoast College is quickly growing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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