Chinatown teen learns about medicine at Tufts summer program
By Ling-Mei Wong
Sarah Wang, 16, does not want to be trapped at a desk job.
“I really like helping people,” said Wang, a junior at Boston Latin School. “I would rather be interacting with patients than sitting behind a desk.”
She applied for the Teachers and High School Student Program of Tufts University School of Medicine, a summer program for multicultural students to pursue careers in medicine and science. Her elder sister Winnie had completed the seven-week program last year, piquing Wang’s interest.
Wang, a lifelong Chinatown resident, joined 26 local students. They took a gross anatomy course taught by Tufts medical students and were mentored for up to 25 hours of clinical and research work each week.
“This program, celebrating its 25th year, is one of Tufts’ key initiatives to support the educational development of youth in our community,” said Joyce Sackey, dean for multicultural affairs and global health and associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Wang’s mentor was Bertrand Jaber, a professor of medicine at Tufts University and a kidney specialist. She shadowed him at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, which included showing her how dialysis worked. Wang also observed nutritionists, primary doctors and nurses, helping her understand health care better.
Wang’s program project, “Lean health care,” focused on providing efficient care to patients, such as reducing wait times.
For her project, she observed how busy the front desk was answering calls and gave staff a checklist to mark for five days.
They would mark which doctor patients were calling for and the reasons for their calls, which were typically prescription refills, appointment rescheduling and test results. Wang then analyzed the information, so doctors and staff could give patients the information they needed before they left, rather than having patients call.
Wang enjoyed hearing about the lives of doctors and medical interns, along with meeting her fellow students. “It was nice seeing how different people from different cultures had similar interests,” she said.
For Wang, the Tufts summer program has kindled her interest in medicine, as she is considering psychiatry.
“The smart, talented students who came to Tufts this summer have contributed meaningfully to our health sciences community, and we hope our program has further cultivated their interest in pursuing careers as health professionals,” said Harris Berman, dean of Tufts University School of Medicine.
This post is also available in: Chinese