Brain Camp's Debut - Organized and Led with the Help of MSTP Third Years

by Sarah Corr

What did you do last summer?

Several medical students, led by Dr. Andy Josephson and aided by faculty from three departments, launched Brain Camp, a week-long introduction to the science and practice of neurology for local high school students. The 13 students came from six high schools: Phillip & Sala Burton High School, San Francisco International High School, Lowell High School, Balboa High School, San Francisco University High School, and Mission High School, and all were from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the health professions.

They dissected sheep brains, learned knot tying and suturing, and played Brain Jeopardy. They were also presented with a medical mystery by a master clinician, and each day they practiced mindfulness. Medical students served as camp counselors, working with faculty to coordinate and lead activities. Faculty instructors from Neurology, Neurological Surgery, and Psychiatry gave lectures and lessons.

Brain Camp was dreamed up and manifested by Devan Diwanji, Paul Wei, Javier Galvan and other students who had developed Camp Cardiac in 2016.

That program was a success, and they knew they could do it again for neurology. They made it free for the students by gathering generous support from UCSF Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), UCSF Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US), UCSF Department of Neurology, UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach, UCSF School of Medicine Post Baccalaureate and Outreach Programs, UCSF Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and UCSF Department of Psychiatry.

The students had a great experience, one that might lead them toward a university degree and graduate school in the health sciences.

Photos from top:

1. Andy Josephson explains the structures of the brain.
2. A student examines the hemispheres.
3. A knot-tying lesson.
4. Camp counselor, Lauren McHenry, talks to students in the learning lab.