Hutch Helbig, a Claremore High School senior, inserted a breathing tube smoothly on the first try on Saturday during Med-Xtravaganza at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.
Second-year OSU medical student Eric Sullivan, who was teaching the small group about intubation, was surprised because most people break the patient model’s teeth or get the tube stuck before it reaches the trachea on the first try.
“Have you done that before?” he asked.
Helbig admitted he learned how to perform the procedure by participating twice in Operation Orange summer camps scheduled throughout the state every June. This was his first experience at the Med-Xtravaganza open house event on the OSU-CHS campus in Tulsa.
“I really enjoyed Operation Orange and Med-X is even better. It is nice to actually see the medical school,” he said. “I want to be a doctor so I keep going to all of these events because I want to stay inspired.”
Helbig was one of more than 150 high school students representing 96 schools across Oklahoma who attended Med-Xtravaganza as a way to get a taste of medical school and learn more about OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Participants listened to a simulation of a patient’s heart and lungs, learned to perform intubations, examined the anatomy of the human heart, lungs and brain and practiced bandaging. This year, participants were introduced to the athletic training graduate program and performed balancing exercises.
Jordyn Alexander, a senior at MacArthur High School in Lawton, also attended a previous Operation Orange summer camp.
“It is really cool to actually see the campus,” she said. “I am planning to be a pediatric oncologist. I figured Med-Xtravaganza would help me explore that even more.”
Med-X and Operation Orange are OSU-COM initiatives to recruit rural Oklahoma high school students for careers in medicine.
“These initiatives are important because they expose rural high school students to a potential medical career that they may have thought to be outside the realm of possibility,” said Kayse Shrum, D.O., president of OSU-CHS and dean of OSU-COM. “We want to reach the best and brightest potential students and many are in rural areas where the need for health care access is greatest.”
Med-X participants were able to ask medical students questions about their experiences and about the OSU medical school. They also gained information about the OSU admissions process and the preparations they need to make while in high school to get into OSU-COM.
MacKenzie Toliver, a freshman at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, practiced wrapping the head of a patient dummy as it moaned and groaned and screamed in simulated pain.
“Not trying to hurt you,” she said with a laugh. Med-Xtravaganza was Toliver’s first exposure to medical school and to OSU-CHS.
“I have always been interested in medicine and I really wanted to see what it is like at OSU,” she said. “I’m having a great time. I can see myself going to medical school here.”
To learn more about Med-Xtravaganza and other OSU-COM recruitment events for high school students, visit the High School Med-Xtravaganza website.