Friday, December 11, 2009

MGH President Is Principal for a Day

TEACHING FROM THE HEART: Slavin teaches seventh-grade students in the MGH Senior STEM Club how the heart works, while Mel Rogers, the club's technology coordinator, looks on.

On Nov. 18, MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, had a day booked with important meetings and events -- all with children ages 14 and under. He was participating in Boston's Principal for a Day Program, organized by the Boston Public Schools and Boston Plan for Excellence, an education fund and nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and improving local schools.  

The Principal for a Day Program pairs community and corporate leaders with principals of local schools to offer a firsthand look at the education system. Slavin spent his time at the Young Achievers Science and Mathematics Pilot School in Mattapan, one of the newest school partners associated with the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement's (CCHI) Youth Programs.

"These students are our future leaders in health care and research, and it was a pleasure to visit and talk with them," says Slavin. "The Center for Community Health Improvement's Youth Programs offer opportunities to help them achieve their goals."

The fun and informative day included a number of activities offering an insider's perspective of the school and its students. Slavin first met with school principal Virginia Chalmers and assisted her with day-to-day tasks, including bus duty. Later, he attended a first-grade community meeting followed by an in-depth conversation about H1N1 influenza with a group of fifth graders. 

The final activity of the day was a meeting with the seventh-grade students involved in the MGH Senior STEM Club. As members of the club, the students participate in the U.S. FIRST LEGO League robotics program and learn about the medical application of engineering and technology through projects and field trips to the MGH. The seventh-graders demonstrated the progress they have made in developing a robot with the help of MGH volunteers and discussed a project they are working on with the MGH Transplant Center about transporting organs. This discussion triggered an impromptu lesson from Slavin about how the heart works, which the students found to be very exciting.

"This was the best class I've had all day," said STEM Club participant Marcus Wade Baptist.

For more information about CCHIÕs Youth Programs, contact Joan McCarthy at 617-724-3210

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