The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion(link is external)’s (OHEI) inaugural Michigan Medicine Youth Summit at the Big House regional outreach event took place on Saturday, May 21, 2022. This daylong event was aimed at engaging and exposing diverse middle school students to Michigan Medicine health care teams units and departments. Participating youth joined for more than 35 hands-on simulations, opportunities for personal connections and resources in preparation for health care career paths. By inviting area middle schoolers, OHEI capitalized on the natural youthful curiosity and exploration of this age group.
“The Youth Summit at the Big House is an excellent opportunity to introduce budding middle school students to the vast opportunities in health care,” said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, in the week leading up to the event. “Not only will they have an opportunity to visit the Big House, but we are offering collegiate-level exposure to the career fields within health care that are often unseen in mainstream career planning — especially for youth who are traditionally underrepresented in Medicine.”
The Department of Psychiatry was one of the participating units in this event. Dr. Polly Gipson, Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Syma Khan, DEI Co-Lead; Kali Lake, the other DEI Co-Lead; Social Work Resident Bethany Navis, and medical student Ruiqi Tang represented our department. They staffed an information table, met with students who shared that they appreciated the information about careers in mental health, passed out informational flyers and fidget spinners as giveaways, and played "Mental Health Kahoot." This was a game played on iPads to teach the youth about mental health diagnosis, mental health careers, and ways to support a friend. The youth were on teams and discussed each questions with their teammates before selecting a response. "The kids knew a lot about mental health and did an awesome job at Kahoot," said Syma Khan.
“Not only did the Youth Summit open the students’ eyes and minds to so many opportunities, but it also opened the possibilities of being a health care worker at Michigan,” said David J. Brown, M.D., associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion and associate professor of otolaryngology. “I’m inspired by the future of health care and science that is sprouting in our local communities, and I’m greatly appreciative to all the Michigan Medicine faculty, staff and learners who engaged with the students and created an educational and fun experience for all.”