BHSU Hosted Inaugural Future Health Professionals Camp: Q&A with Dr. Lilian Nyindodo

A summer camp that allows you to dissect cow eyeballs and analyze your own urine – who could not fall in love with health care after that?

Baptist Health Sciences University hosted its first Future Health Professionals Camp in June, and students loved it so much they didn’t want to leave each day!

The two-week camp was part of the new BaptistU HealthCORE community outreach initiative in collaboration with BHSU and Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS).

Thirty high school students participated in the camp, with activities including hands-on laboratory, clinical observation, tours and educational events. The camp was sponsored by BHSU and Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC).

To learn more, we talked with BHSU’s Chair and Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Lilian Nyindodo, PhD, MPH.

What are the goals of the Future Health Professionals Camp?

We’re dealing with declining numbers of workers in health care, so reaching young students now is important. We’re trying to get students interested in health professions and guide them through that process of becoming a health professional. We help students establish mentorship opportunities to support them through college enrollment.

Many students have a very limited scope of what health care is all about, but we were aiming to change that with this camp. We facilitated hands-on activities for the students so that they could see the wide variety of professions available in health care.

Please tell us about the activities.

Our BHSU faculty led most of the activities, along with some community partners. Students practiced chest compressions, rode in an ambulance, participated in virtual reality room nursing, performed X-rays and thyroid ultrasounds, intubated dummies, worked with some makeshift radioactive nucleotides, analyzed their own urine and even dissected cow eyeballs.

The camp gave students the opportunity to see what a nuclear medicine technologist does. They also learned about careers in EMS, medical radiography and radiation therapy.

With the age group we were working with, 15- to 18-year-olds, we wanted to make sure we kept them engaged, so less talking and more doing with hands-on activities. Our faculty, students and community partners were so generous and helpful and worked hard to make the camp a success.

These are the areas we covered in camp:

  • Biomedical Sciences with Dr. Lilian Nyindodo – Camp Orientation
  • Nuclear Medicine with Ms. Donna Mars and Ms. Nikki Robinson – Radioactive Decay
  • Biomedical Sciences with Ms. Michelle Alexander – Bacteria Gram Staining
  • IPE/Nursing with Dr. Cheryl Scott and Dr. Angel Boiling – First Aid and Health Assessment
  • Mid-South Transplant with Ms. Mary Catherine Beck – Transplant Story
  • Biomedical Sciences with Dr. Hurley Shepherd – Eyeball Dissection
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography with Ms. Abigail Kurtz and Ms. Katie Cody – Seeing with Sound
  • BHSU Honors with Dr. Paul Criss – Medicine in Historical Context
  • Medical Radiography with Mr. Thomas Wolf – Medical Radiography Practice
  • Health Admin and Population Health with Dr. Briana Jeiger – Communication and Professionalism
  • Health Admin and Population Health with Dr. Jan Hill – Global Pandemic Escape Room
  • GEHS with Dr. Michelle McDonald – Zombie Apocalypse
  • IPE/Nursing with Dr. Cheryl Scott and Dr. Angel Boiling – IPE Simulation and VR Room Activity
  • Respiratory Care with Ms. Kira Anderson – Respiratory Care Practice: Breathing
  • Medical Laboratory Science with Dr. Darius Wilson – Basic Lab Procedures, Urinalysis
  • Biomedical Sciences with Dr. Christina Herring (Davis) – Gas Laws and Volume
  • Baptist Ambulance with Ms. Angela Mabry and team – EMT World

How did the campers respond?

Oh, they responded so positively! Students didn’t want to leave at the end of camp each day. They wanted full days instead of half days at camp.

Parents said that their kids kept talking about the camp. They were so excited about it and loved the activities. The feedback we’ve received from parents on our survey has been extremely positive.

At the end of camp, we presented our campers with participation certificates during a small ceremony, which they really loved. They were cheering each other because they became friends. They’re proud.

Several students expressed interest in attending BHSU. We directed them to Admissions and Financial Aid.

What are the plans/changes for next year?

We’re hoping to increase capacity next year from 30 to 60 campers and open it up to students from the tristate area.

We’ll also have more community partners who can facilitate activities from their health care fields to give students real-life experience.