Inspiring the next generation

Inspiring the next generation of physicians, researchers and other health personnel is a big part of OHSU’s mission. There are lots of ways to do this.

Catlin Gabel is a local Portland school with a long and distinguished history of experiential learning. Every year Catlin puts on a unique event to interest students in science and health care.

Six-grade students at Catlin participate in ‘surgery day’ and have an opportunity to handle and use real surgical equipment, meet surgeons and other specialist physicians, and get a peek into what modern medicine is about.

The kids use tiny titanium plates to repair “fractures” on bone models, thread tiny catheters into simulated blood vessels, put on casts, and perform more than a half-dozen other realistic surgical and medical activities, under the watchful eye and tutelage of Portland-area surgeons who volunteer time and equipment for the program, which is almost 20 years old.

At the 2012 surgery day, two Doernbecher faculty, Dr. Dana Braner, the Alice Fax Professor and Head of Critical Care Medicine, and your correspondent, Dr. Nathan Selden, the Campagna Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, joined in the fun.

Braner worked at a station teaching the middle school students to sew up lacerations (using pigs feet from the market place), and I used a real surgical navigation computer and drills to show students how to perform emergency neurosurgical drainage procedures.

As you can see from these photographs, Braner and I had as much fun as the kids! Education, at all levels, is a core part of our professional satisfaction at OHSU Doernbecher, and is a major reason that OHSU Doerbecher is a vital part of the Portland, Ore., and Pacific Northwest communities.

Thanks also go to industry suppliers and partners who loaned key equipment for the program, including Medtronic who brought the items for the neurosurgery station at which I taught. Thanks also to Dr. Karen Selden (not a coincidence, and the reason I was first invited to participate!), who organizes surgery day for Catlin.

Nathan Selden, M.D., Ph.D.
Mario and Edie Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery
Director, OHSU Neurological Surgery Residency Program
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital