Dr. Hoffman Leads Lab Sessions for Mentoring in Medicine Students

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Mentoring in Medicine: Students used endoscopes on peppers
06-12-2017

 As part of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center’s commitment to diversity in medicine, Dr. Caitlin Hoffman recently hosted high school students from two Bronx schools for hands-on learning about endoscopic neurosurgery in our Surgical Innovations Laboratory.

Students from Cardinal Hayes High School and Mount St. Michael Academy visited the lab as part of the Mentoring in Medicine program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a diverse population of young people to become health care professionals. Dr. Hoffman is working with the organization to provide access to the science of neurological surgery to students who otherwise could not picture themselves entering the field.

Each student had the opportunity to use an actual endoscope, an advanced tool that allows surgeons to make only the tiniest of incisions to reach their targets. Endoscopes feature a camera and light that allow a surgeon to view a surgical site on a high-resolution monitor; tiny tools inserted through a tube allow neurosurgeons to repair or remove a wide variety of brain and spine abnormalities, from tumors and cysts to seizure-causing lesions.

Dr. Hoffman prepares peppers for the students
Dr. Hoffman prepares peppers for the students
Dr. Hoffman demonstrates an endoscope
Dr. Hoffman demonstrates an endoscope
Students work together to use the camera and tool
Students work together to use the camera and tool
Students watch on the monitor as they navigate to seeds
Students watch on the monitor as they navigate to seeds
Students successfully insert the endoscope into the pepper
Students successfully insert the endoscope into the pepper
Tiny seeds, successfully extracted from the pepper
Tiny seeds, successfully extracted from the pepper
The students from Cardinal Hayes High School
The students from Cardinal Hayes High School
The students from Mount St. Michael Academy
The students from Mount St. Michael Academy

For the learning sessions, students used their endoscopes to remove the seeds from inside sweet peppers – they learned to use their hands to manipulate the scope and the tools while watching themselves work on the monitor above the workstation. (Most students agreed that those with experience playing video games had a decided advantage, as their brains have become accustomed to working with their hands while watching the resulting action on a screen.)

More about Mentoring in Medicine
More about Diversity and Inclusion at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center