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KU School of Medicine-Wichita leadership wants students to be empowered, inspired by museum exhibit

“This will inspire young kids to enter health care fields in the future,” said William Salyers Jr., M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

Two teens sit in the Emotional Rollercoaster simulator at the new Health Inside Out exhibit at Exploration Place
Visitors to Exploration Place try out the new Emotional Rollercoaster simulator, which is part of the new "Health Inside Out" exhibit sponsored by KU School of Medicine-Wichita. “I think it’s great to have the medical school partner with Exploration Place in a way that helps the community,” said William Salyers Jr., M.D., MPH, FACP, who chairs the Department of Internal Medicine at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

The new “Health Inside Out” exhibit at Exploration Place invites children to learn about the medical field through interactive experiences that resemble arcade games.

When Brian Pate, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, learned about the science museum project, he wanted to get the rest of the campus involved.

“I asked them to be curious and learn a little bit,” Pate said. “I felt this project was strongly aligned with what the school is trying to do in the community.”

That includes recruiting students into the health professions and “making the health care workforce look more like the state of Kansas as a whole.”

Pate’s colleagues agreed and KU School of Medicine-Wichita, KU Wichita Medical Practice Association and the medical school's departments of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Family & Community Medicine, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences provided equal shares of funding in order to collectively be the presenting sponsor of the $1.5 million exhibit.

“We want youngsters to know what health care is and get interested in it early,” said Garold Minns, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine-Wichita, in remarks he delivered at the April 19 ribbon cutting.

Two elements of “Health Inside Out” are designed to educate children about health professions. “Health Heroes” promotes educational play inside a real EMS helicopter. The “Wheel of Health Professions” offers examples of different jobs within the medical field.

Many of the other 14 components of the 3,500-square-foot exhibit touch on different medical disciplines, including virology, audiology and gastroenterology.

Health care represents five of the 10 fastest-growing occupational fields, said Aaron Ryan, executive director of the Medical Practice Association. Despite this, Kansas faces a shortage of health care professionals.

“As we discuss the current and future state of health care delivery in our state, we consistently run into a bottleneck when we look at the size and capacity of our current workforce,” Ryan said.

That bottleneck has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, he noted.

“That makes this the right time for an exhibit of this nature,” said Salyers.

“Health sciences can be fun,” despite the fact that the last couple of years have been challenging for everyone in the field, he said.

It’s important for children to understand that doctors are only one part of a “large and complex” medical team, Pate said. That includes lab technicians, researchers, biomedical engineers and other health care workers who do not provide direct patient care.

“You can’t bring someone into a health care career without inspiring them at a young age,” Pate said. “When children leave this exhibit, they may be inspired to pursue a career they wouldn’t otherwise have known about.”

Visit the exhibit at Exploration Place, 300 N. Mclean Blvd., Wichita, KS 67203; 316-660-0600.

See more photos of the new exhibit by clicking on the photo album below:

'Health Inside Out'

KU School of Medicine-Wichita