May 9, 2003

Youngsters in Hippocrates Circle Mentoring Program Tour UCSD School of Medicine

What does it take to get into medical school? What is a typical day like for medical school students? More than 60 youngsters in Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocrates Circle physicians mentoring program got answers to these and other questions recently on a tour of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego where they met with medical school students, visited neurology and anatomy laboratories, and even got to view and handle an actual human brain.

The Hippocrates Circle program , founded more than three years ago by Kaiser Permanente physician Ricardo Sistos, is comprised of Kaiser physicians from a wide range of medical specialties who volunteer as mentors in an effort to encourage area youngsters, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds, to pursue careers in medicine. The program also partners with the UCSD School of Medicine, UCSD Office of Student Affairs, and other educational institutions, in providing Hippocrates Circle youngsters with college motivation and stimulating academic environments in which to experience medical professionals in action.

Hippocrates Circle program students examine an actual human brain specimen recently during their tour of the UCSD School of Medicine.

During Hippocrates Circle’s recent visit to the UCSD School of Medicine, youngsters from Escondido’s Hidden Valley Middle School, Grant Middle School and Del Dios Middle School had lunch with more than eight medical school students during which they learned the preparation needed to become a physician. The youngsters later toured medical student laboratories at the School of Medicine where lab manager Chris Hopkins and her staff acquainted Hippo-crates Circle visitors with the rudiments of the human brain, microscopic study and anatomy. In addition, youngsters were treated to a talk on emergency medicine by ER physician Charles Simmons, who graduated from the UCSD School of Medicine and is now in practice in the Scripps-Mercy Hospital system.

Next year, Hippocrates Circle will focus on bringing its services to middle school students in the South Bay. For more information on the program, contact Maria Torres-Weldon at Kaiser Permanente at (619) 641-4061.

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