On Friday, December 11th, elementary school students from Washington County graduated from Rocky Vista University Southern Utah’s (RVU-SU) Young Doctors Program. The program focuses on providing in-depth healthcare experiences for fifth-grade students and allows for creative partnerships with other organizations and healthcare providers in Southern Utah. The fifth-graders applied to the program by writing an essay about why they were interested in participating.
During the graduation ceremony, which was held over Google Meets, the young students wore white coats, similar to those worn by medical students. When asked what their favorite parts of the program were, the students overwhelmingly said it was learning about the heart and lungs. Stephanie Tom, OMS II, Co-President of the Young Doctors Program, thanked the students for “giving us your time and attention. This is really hard stuff – learning about the body, hearts, lungs, gastrointestinal, and nutrition – it was great seeing you all go in 110%.”
Other educational topics included an in-depth workshop on dental hygiene, hosted in mid-November, during which the elementary school students learned about tooth anatomy, how cavities form, and dentistry as a profession. The workshop was just one of the many interactive (and virtual) activities that the Young Doctors Program hosted for the fifth-grade students over the course of the semester. The program, in partnership with RVU’s Academic Leadership Track, also hosted virtual sessions every other Friday on topics of interest to the young students.
According to student doctor Tom, the goal of the program is ultimately to allow elementary school students to learn what a career in healthcare looks like while providing lessons and activities that promote critical thinking, exploration, and encourages student confidence. “Some of you had never learned about this stuff before or heard about the things we talked about,” continued Tom during the ceremony. “[We] are so excited for you and your futures, and we hope this [has] inspired you or taught you something new.”