The Pediatric Youth Immersion Camp of the Upstate (PYICU), a program hosted with the purpose of providing underserved high school students with exposure to the medical field, hosted its closing ceremony on April 29th, 2022, concluding its five-week camp.
With the help of select residents and physicians, PGY3 Peds resident Brittany Williams, PGY3 Med-Peds resident Amaka Ofodu, and Med-Peds Associate Program Director and pipeline program faculty coordinator Senthuran Ravindran hosted a five-week camp for eleven Upstate high school students interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics.
Williams states that the goal of this program “is to get kids who would otherwise not get the exposure necessary to becoming a pediatrician or physician so that they are inspired to follow through with a medical career in their future.” Williams submitted the original idea to the American Academy of Pediatrics and received the American Academy of Pediatrics Pipeline Innovations Grant that funded the five-week camp.
Eleven total 10th and 11th graders from Carolina Academy listened to lessons given by Prisma Health Pediatricians and participated in hands-on activities, including learning how to suture, conducting point of care ultrasounds, learning meditation techniques, and more. The students also had opportunities to speak with resident physicians and attendings to hear their stories of pursuing careers in medicine, specifically pediatrics.
“Not only did we have hands-on experience, but we also had professionals interacting with us and telling us their experiences of being in the medical field,” states PYICU participant Evelyn Martinez.
Biomedical science teacher at Carolina High school, Erin Driggers, states that “it was recognized from the beginning that we wanted to educate our students early and give them the connections and resources necessary to help direct them to their desired career in healthcare, specifically pediatrics. Through this program, we wanted to create an effort to increase the numbers of underrepresented populations in the pediatrics field.”
“It could not have been done without the help of UofSC-SOM Greenville students and Prisma Health Upstate Peds and Med-Peds residents. This is the first year of this camp, and we plan to make this a yearly Spring pipeline program to potentially precede MedEx and the PreMEd Partners Pathway Program (P3 program),” states Ravindran.
The PYICU Closing Ceremony, which was hosted on April 29th, included a mentorship symposium, a performance by UofSC SOM-Greenville third-year medical student Joel Burt-Miller and his band, closing remarks, and the presentation of participant and volunteer awards. Exhibitors for the event were the PreMed Partners Pathway Program, MedEx, and Upstate AHEC.