Operation Opportunity, a partnership between Michigan Medicine, Wayne-Westland Community Schools (WWCS), and Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures, is a youth mentorship program designed to educate Wayne-Westland first generation college bound youth about the many career paths in the medical field. The program was founded four years ago by Dr. Lynn Malinoff, EdD, Director of EMU Bright Futures, and Heather Wurster, RN, MPH, Chief Administrative Officer of Medical Affairs from the U-M Office of Clinical Affairs.
This year's program took place the weeks of June 17 and June 24 with 22 students participating from WWCS. The student's weeks were filled with visiting numerous departments, units, and sites at Michigan Medicine, including Internal Medicine, Pathology, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, School of Nursing, Pharmacy, Orthopedics, Huron Valley Ambulance, Microbiology, Trauma Burn/Survival Flight, and Child and Family Life. Their schedule also included a tour of the Michigan Stadium on their first day.
Department of Internal Medicine mentorship activities included meeting with faculty and staff from the Divisions of Hospital Medicine and Genetic Medicine, participating in simulation activities, and the opportunity to talk with Department Chair, Dr. John Carethers.
During their visits, the students learned about the educational paths to a multitude of careers, skills needed for different careers, and the personal and professional experiences of faculty, staff, and U-M students.
The benefits are felt both by the Michigan Medicine participants and the Operation Opportunity students. For the Michigan Medicine mentors, the program increases their understanding of vulnerable and underserved populations and gives them insight into the students' life challenges, fears, and goals. The impact on the Operation Opportunity students is significant as it gives them exposure to and information on careers in the medical field that they might not otherwise have known about and opens the door and changes perspectives on what is possible.