Just days ago I had the pleasure of welcoming 130 academically outstanding high school students to witness one of my live robotic prostatectomy procedures at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. I was invited to become a part of National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine’s (NYLF/MED) inaugural year in New York. The program gathers exceptional high school students in the greater tri-state area who are chosen based on their outstanding academic records in math and science and teacher recommendations. The forum has an 18-year history in cities throughout the country, and it was a great honor for me to be a part of bringing it to students in our area.
Students participating in the program stay in New York for 10 days, experiencing a wide range of healthcare seminars, medical experiences and even social events. The program works with medical professionals in the area to arrange site visits so the students can experience clinical settings first hand. The morning of the surgery, 130 of the program’s students chose to join me at Mount Sinai Medical Center to watch the 7:00 am surgery live on closed circuit TV. Just after, I spent time with the students discussing the surgery and answering questions. It was truly inspiring to see their enthusiasm. Their questions were so insightful and they had a genuine interest in understanding the details of the procedure. They were intrigued by the limited blood loss during robotic prostatectomy surgery and asked detailed questions about the training required to perform such procedures, as well as the recovery time. Spending the morning with young people as excited about robotic surgery as I am was a real thrill.
I see this program as a great boost to medical schools in our area. The sooner we engage bright minds in the healthcare field, the better off we all are. We need their energy and intelligence to keep moving forward with medical successes. I understand that today roughly 30 percent of the students who participate in the program nationwide go on to be a part of the healthcare field in some way. I hope to be a part of the program in the future and to do my part in increasing that number.
A big thank you to Maureeen Carnakie-Baker, Regional Manager at NYLF/MED, for inviting me to become a part of the program, and also to all of the wonderful, bright students I got to know that morning. I wish you all the best in your future healthcare endeavors.