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Jericho Med Students Guide Kids

With so many unhealthy options lurking behind grinning fast food mascots and couch potato-pleasing video games, it is essential that youngsters receive guidance from the next generation of medical professionals.

Such was the thrust of a Health Education Fair at Mattlin Middle School in Plainview last week featuring medical students—two from Jericho—who are attending the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

Amy Cooper from Jericho was on hand to help children understand the appropriate times to call 911. She said personal safety and the safety of others is a health issue all its own.

Victoria Grasso, a resident at Plainview Hospital (also from Jericho) set up shop at a free "teddy bear" clinic, which is meant to ease fears about doctor and emergency room visits for children.

“I’ve seen it many times in emergency rooms: Kids go in and they are terrified of physicians,” said Grasso. “We set this up for kids to treat their bear. Kids with a healthy idea of doctors grow into adults with a healthy idea of doctors.”

Children at the fair were also taught how to distinguish between candy and medicine.

The health fair was part of a National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services and the National Library of Medicine award granted to the Medical School’s Health Sciences Library for consumer health resources education. The medical students represent various “student interest groups” at the medical school, which participate in extracurricular activities that reflect the students’ medical specialty interests.

School of Medicine specialty groups set up tables in Mattlin’s gym, each one with fun activities and useful information for visitors. The specialty groups included wilderness safety, pediatrics, neurology, surgery, internal medicine, oncology and emergency medicine clubs.

Visitors to the fair tried their hand at laparoscopic surgery techniques using a virtual game, while also bandaging up a teddy bear at the free bear clinic.

“We want to bring the medical field to the lay person in a way that is approachable and fun,” said Debra Rand, associate dean for library services at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. “This is not only about healthy information, but also to show just how many career opportunities there are in the health field.”