uOttawa MD students taking centre stage at the Canada Science and Technology Museum
Have you ever been curious about what it’s like to hold a human heart in the palm of your hands? Or operate a device that removes blood clots in the arteries? Well, now’s your chance.
Since May 2018, uOttawa’s MD students have hosted a monthly interactive series called “3D Medical Curiosity” at the Canada Science and Technology Museum – engaging with kids and adults alike on medical topics from heart attacks to orthopedic surgery and much more.
Many of the hands-on presentations include 3D-printed models of human organs and bones, medical devices used at The Ottawa Hospital in day-to-day clinical care, and technology from the Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre, where medical learners practice procedures to hone their skills.
“3D Med Curiosity aims to excite, engage and enrich the Ottawa community, particularly young museum visitors, about medicine and science,” says organizer and second-year MD student Jonathan Whelan. “By bringing these surgical demonstrations to the community and designing them to be accessible to even 8- to 12-year-olds, we are fostering health promotion, enthusiasm about medicine, and knowledge sharing with children, parents and seniors alike.”
During these sessions, a handful of kids are selected from the audience to put on a white coat and channel their inner doctor with surgical kits or 3D models of life-sized hearts, bones, brains and prosthetic hands.
As part of the Museum’s overarching “Curiosity on Stage” series that take place every Saturday afternoon, the Faculty of Medicine contributes one session per month, each designed by Dr. Adnan Sheikh, Vice Chair of Radiology at uOttawa with the assistance of Drs. Frank Rybicki and Leonid Chepelev.
Dr. Sheikh recruited Whelan as a Department of Radiology summer student; his roles and responsibilities included the organization the “3D Medical Curiosity” session in May. The program includes a diverse group from uOttawa and has been a smash-hit at the Museum. After receiving exceptional accolades, Whelan has stayed on as lead organizer, while also managing a dynamic Instagram account @3d_medcuriosity not only chronicalling the series, but also sharing the latest innovations in 3D printing.
“I quickly realized that the interest wasn’t just mine,” said Whelan, who certainly has scored a captivating part-time job during medical school. “Friends started to stop by to visit me during lunch and look at the printed models. I wanted to share this innovation with more people, so I used the tools in social media to speak about the science in a way that’s accessible to everyone.”
There have been over 25 uOttawa medical students involved in “3D Medical Curiosity” so far, with eight to 12 facilitators participating each month, and every presentation is delivered bilingually.
Join us next time: The next session of “3D Medical Curiosity” will be on Saturday, October 13 at 1:00 p.m. at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.