The partnership has been a perfect fit, said Ted Black, Whitaker Center president and CEO.
“If you can impact one or several lives to get someone inspired to do something professionally, that fits squarely with our mission of getting kids interested in STEM and medicine,” he said. “The doctors are what make it engaging. It takes a special group of doctors who are willing to perform their surgeries live and talk to students while doing it. These doctors have inspired so many kids.”
Pauli remembers back in 2007 when he was a lab resident and relayed questions from College of Medicine students to the surgeons. A subsequent survey revealed that the surgery broadcast enhanced students’ interest in surgical careers.
“We know we have people who have gone into medicine because of Surgery Live!” Pauli said. “This is so important because with our aging population, we need more people in the medical field. This is an extremely simple way to get people immediately invested.”
Since it began, more than 15,000 students from some 70 schools across the state have watched gallbladder removal, laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic hysterectomy and various other endoscopic, gastric and urological surgeries.
Surgery Live! now takes place in Select Medical Digital Cinema on its 40-foot screen, offering a truly larger-than-life experience.
In advance of their trip to Whitaker Center, students receive a packet of information so they can learn about the type of surgery they will see. A video shown before the live feed features interviews with doctors and nurses telling about their jobs, the education required and why they like what they do.
Marie said watching Surgery Live! is a good test for would-be medical students.
“If you watch it and you don’t feel like passing out, you should pursue your interest,” she said. “Preparing for a medical career is a lot of hard work, but at the end of the tunnel, it’s very fulfilling.”