Second Annual AHEC Alumni Association Event

By Alissa Siegenthaler, Wisconsin AHEC statewide communications assistant

MADISON – Fish hooks popped out of sponges and cotton balls went flying when Wisconsin AHEC hosted its second annual AHEC Alumni Association Event on September 19, 2013, at the UW-Madison Health Sciences Learning Center to celebrate the achievements of past Wisconsin-Express, CHIP, PCC, and Health Careers Camps students.

Students had the opportunity to attend multiple health-related workshops at the event, each host- ed by experts on the topic. Dr. Byron Crouse, UW Associate Dean for Rural and Community Health, taught students a safe and effective method for removing fish hooks lodged into patients’ skin. Dr. Crouse used kitchen sponges to substitute fleshy body parts. Other than fish hooks, his only tool needed was a piece of string! Dr. Crouse shared many vivid and entertaining stories about past patients requiring this fish-hook removal service. Many students were surprised to learn that removing a fish hook is a necessary skill for Wisconsin medical doctors to have, not limited to those practicing in rural areas.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) students from the Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) organization hosted a hands-on organ trivia station. The DOC students used real organs to show and explain to the AHEC alumni students how different lifestyle choices impact one’s organs. Thisactivity engaged multiple senses offering a fun and dynamic experience for the students. Wisconsin AHEC gives a special thank you to second-year medical students Hannah Roeder and Phil Mercier for coordinating the activity.

UW-Madison Occupational Therapy student, Katie Ziehr, along with Northeastern Wisconsin AHEC’s Jill Niemczyk and Jackie Martin, explained to the AHEC alumni students how an occupational therapist helps individuals with disabling conditions regain their abilities in the home and work environment. They showed and demonstrated to the students the variety of adaptive tools and equipment an occupational therapy patient uses. One notable “minute-to-win-it” style exercise involved using a straw to blow a cotton ball across a table to illustrate oral sensitivity and the preparation a patient must go through before eating a meal.

TeAngelo Cargile Jr., president of the AHEC Alumni Association, and Desmond McMillan, Youth Health Service Corps program coordinator, led an American Sign Language station and taught the AHEC alumni students how to sign different healthcare-related terms. This useful skill can be incorporated into the practice of any health professional.

Dinner, before the workshop began, was sponsored by the Wisconsin AHEC program office. TeAngelo Cargile Jr. and Dr. Byron Crouse welcomed the students with opening remarks and then introduced the guest speaker Lindsey DeCarlo, a pre-health advisor from the Center for Pre-Health Advising at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. DeCarlo talked to the students about preparing for their health-field careers, discussed the importance of passion needed for all health fields and encouraged students to begin getting experience in their areas of interest.

Wisconsin AHEC thanks the many volunteers who offered their help and expertise to ensure a night full of learning and fun.