Med Talks Conference Brings Medical Experts to MHS

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  • Lisa Del Pizzo, AP Biology teacher, starts off the Med Talks conference at MHS March 2. She explained how all proceeds from the event would be going towards the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

  • Neha Bollam and Tiffany Yoon, seniors, introduce the first speaker of the event, Dr. Joy Snider. Snider discussed Alzheimer's disease and dementia research.

  • Dr. Snider describes the long term effects of Alzheimer's. While most people are currently middle aged, that demographic will shift to where elderly will be the majority, making Alzheimer's disease more prominent. “Hopefully some of the students will know a bit more and broaden their thinking about what a health career might be and at least some might consider learning more about neuroscience overall or even dementia and care for older adults,” Snider said.

  • Grace Clutts, Junior, silently listens to Snider’s presentation. She said she enjoyed the Med Talks. “I like how it was more of a discussion where the audience controls what they want to learn rather than someone just talking at us,” said Clutts.

  • The second speaker of the event, Dr. Todd Druley, pediatric oncologist, talks to students about his experience in researching and treating children's cancer. He said he was happy to talk to students about being a doctor, an experience he had wished he had as a teenager. “I grew up in a little farm town on the middle of illinois, so we didn’t have access to a lot of medical specialists,” Druley said. “I think something like this would have been very helpful.”

  • Gansari Aleti, senior, introduces the third speaker of the event chronobiologist Dr. Erik Herzog. He talked about people’s internal clocks and how it wake them up each day.

  • Herzog begins his presentation after pulling a whiteboard on to the stage. He said the event’s diversity of presenters was great. “HOSA chose some really great people to come,” Herzog said. “It gave the event a breath of topics to hear about.”

  • Herzog presents his discoveries on the internal clock. Through his studies, he hopes to discover how specific molecules, cells and circuits affect people's daily schedules, and furthermore, how this knowledge could be used to treat certain diseases.

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Treating Alzheimer’s, helping children with cancer, learning how people’s internal clocks function. All of these topics and more were discussed by five medical experts during the Med Talks conference March 2.

The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) brought medical professionals from the Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) to MHS to talk about their work and was organized by the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).

Co-president of HOSA Neha Bollam, senior, said the event was made to give students interested in the medical field a chance to meet professionals.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to have easy access to medical information,” Bollam said.

Bollam said this accessibility extended financially as well with the ticket prices being $5.

Bollam added that another benefit of Med Talks was that all the money raised by the event went towards the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF), a charity fighting children’s cancer across the world.

Bollam said she was happy with how the event turned out.

“I think the people who went learned a lot, even if they weren’t interested medicine,” Bollam said. “It was a chance for students and the community to become more aware of health problems in our community and around the world.”

Dr. Todd Druley, pediatric oncologist, spoke about his experience treating children’s cancer, as well as his time as a physician and scientist in the medical field.

While he presented at the event to help NPCF, Druley said he also enjoys talking to kids about the medical field.

“These are sometimes daunting careers to consider, I want to show that anybody can do it if you are willing to stick to it,” Druley said. “There isn’t a one size fits all career trajectory. You can really bend your time and energy making this career what you want it to be.”

Druley said he sees a lot of potential in Med Talks, especially with students being able to meet and make connections with medical experts.

“It can be overwhelming because there are so many things to choose from,” Druley said. “Hopefully this will help the audience find where they fit perfectly.”

Science teacher Lisa Del Pizzo, HOSA sponsor, said, along with recruiting professionals, HOSA had to schedule a time in the Theatre, prepare concessions in advance, provide tickets for students outside of MHS, and contact the central office and communications department to get the event pushed out on social media.

“It was a massive amount of time and preparation to pull it off,” Del Pizzo said.

The conference was originally scheduled for January but had to be rescheduled due to poor weather conditions.

Del Pizzo said the planning was not changed that much because of the rescheduling. What was changed however was the attendance because many other science related events and the start of spring sports conflicted with the rescheduled time.

“The January date had a much bigger draw than what we had last weekend,” Del Pizzo said. “I hope the people who attended enjoyed it nonetheless.”

Del Pizzo said she hopes the event continues to give students a chance to see what possibilities there are in the medical field.

“Med Talks shows students that there are a lot of opportunities and a lot of different pathways for them to get involved and pursue their passion,” Del Pizzo said.