Child's Play

Vital Signs » Fall 2014
photo of a medical student and a child

Boonshoft School of Medicine students learn the art of healing from 35 kindergartners

Last May, guided by 13 faculty physicians, 52 medical students learned the art of conducting physical exams with the help of 35 kindergartners, as part of a partnership between the medical school, Dayton Public Schools (DPS), and DPS school nurses.

The Kiser Elementary School kindergartners helped the first-year medical students in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course learn how the physical exam differs from an adult to a child.

The children and the school benefit as well, according to Bruce Binder, M.D., Ph.D., A.B.F.M., director, Skills Assessment & Training Center, and vice chair, undergraduate medical education, family medicine.

“Through the years various infections, high blood pressure, heart murmurs, and more have been picked up during this exercise,” he said. “It also allows the children to see ‘physicians’ in an enjoyable setting, which can help reduce their fear of going to the doctor. Plus, it introduces the medical students to a wonderful service organization, and some of them wind up volunteering there on a regular basis.”

Following an introduction to the school, the community, the roles of school nurses, and the heath issues that are encountered at a K-8 school, the medical students moved to the school cafeteria where they conducted a nonthreatening, noninvasive physical exam on each child under the supervision of 13 faculty physicians.

The children joined in and examined the med students as well, listening to their hearts with a stethoscope or peering into their ears with the otoscope. This project has conducted annual visits to elementary schools throughout Dayton since 1996 and has been held exclusively at Kiser since 2010.

Last edited on 02/20/2016.