The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation was thrilled to be back in person at last week’s Wisconsin Science Festival, a statewide celebration of science with hands-on activities for people throughout the state. Physician volunteers and medical students in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Doctors Ought to Care student group interacted with thousands of kids over the course of the event and explained how to stay healthy while allowing participants to safely hold organs to gain a deeper understanding of how the body works. Kids also had the chance to visualize themselves as a physician by trying on a white coat.
Through youth programing like the Wisconsin Science Festival, Prescription for a Healthy You and other community grant projects, the Foundation aims to encourage Wisconsin kids to keep their bodies healthy – inside and out – and to consider pursuing careers in medicine and health care.
Tim Bartholow, MD, one of the busy Science Festival volunteers, reflected afterward that opportunities like this from the Foundation “are a key experience-making pipeline to help heal our workforce tribulations, teaching each medical student, and ultimately reminding ourselves, of the awesome magic of knowing enough science and practicing interpersonal empathy and compassion to have individuals and communities believe in themselves and thrive.” Doctor Bartholow added, “At a time when we feel historic strain, gloved fifth graders felt awe, amazement, curiosity and pensiveness as they held a human heart, and opened the tissue to see valves generously provided by one of our patients. And over these anatomic specimens we used the teachable moment to remind that excellence requires that you study every day, that you thank your teachers and that each of us needs to practice self-care like no vaping. They want to grow up and achieve like us, some of them becoming healers, and we need to create the best health care workplaces for them to join us.”
In the past the Foundation has partnered with the La Crosse and Eau Claire, Dunn, Pepin County Medical Societies to put on events in their communities. In Eau Claire it has grown over the years as a community event. Foundation President and Eau Claire physician, Jose Ortiz, MD, noted, “There is science all around us. We are grateful to our community partners who supported the festival and helped to show the science in everything. We are also very fortunate to have partnered with the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire who made a major contribution to this year’s festival.”
Fellow Eau Claire physician Donn Dexter, MD, added, “This is a great opportunity for our local Medical Society to get involved with our community and encourage people to appreciate the science that surrounds us.”
The Foundation would welcome working with other County Medical Societies to spread the excitement. If you would like to learn more about the Wisconsin Science Festival or how to get involved in your community, please contact Jaime Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org. To help support youth programs to encourage careers in health and medicine, please contribute to the Foundation’s Brighter Future Fund.
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