Kansas Kids Learn Medicine at School

riverton kansas

Location: Riverton
Outreach Dept: AHEC
Program: Mini Medical School (MMS)

Mia Elliott is a teacher at Riverton High School, one of five high schools to pilot the 2007-2008 University of Kansas Medical School Mini Medical School (MMS). Originally designed as a community education tool for adults, Mini Med School was restructured, shifting the focus from the adult community to the high school science classroom.

Elliott says the program gives opportunities to rural Kansas students that they would not have otherwise had. She implemented the labs into her classroom and says the program has helped greatly.

Kansas Kids Learn Medicine at School Several faculty members from KUMC, who are both physicians and experts in their respective fields, agreed to give 30 minute lectures relating to their area of expertise. These presentations were videotaped, and are now available for teachers on DVD. The Mini Med School program includes 5 different modules, each focusing on a different topic. Each module is accompanied by a hands-on, teacher-developed activity with all the necessary supplies included. The topics include:

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Brain Function
  • The Ear and Hearing
  • Diabetes, Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise
  • Immunology, Vaccination and HIV

“The students liked the idea that KU was investing in their high school education because it is a school that a lot of students dream of attending but it is only a dream that a lot of them believe cannot become a reality,” she said. “With this program, they get to view lectures by professors from the KU School of Medicine.” The KUMC AHEC helped develop the pilot for Greeley County High School in Tribune, Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Eudora High School in Eudora and a consortium of Riverton, Baxter Springs and Galena.

Senior students of Elliott recently put on a health careers fair for Kindergarten through 2nd grades to share and inspire them with a passion for health care.

“The information my students receive from the KU mini med school program gives them more knowledge and belief in themselves,” said Elliott. “Knowledge and belief in one’s self is something we want to share with the younger students as well.”

The health careers fair is a way for the seniors to learn to build relationships and learn teaching techniques; both, of which are helpful in a health care career.

KUMC realizes that high school science teachers in rural communities often lack resources, time, and opportunities for the students. The goal of the new MMS is to supply teachers with a resource that will supplement and enhance the curriculum they are already using, in order to expose high school students in rural Kansas communities to various aspects of the medical field. With a shortage of health care providers in rural Kansas, it is important for teens to be exposed to health careers when they are young. This exposure can increase the number of students who choose medicine as their career.

Last modified: Apr 15, 2014