LUCOM-ACOP partners with local community center, hosts Teddy-Bear clinic
For some elementary students and younger teens, going to the doctor can be a daunting experience. Question after question, physical examinations, even blood tests and x-rays can be a bit much. Student-doctors at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) set out to help make the experience more comfortable and advance understanding for the young patients.
On Saturday, May 14, the LUCOM chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP) partnered with the Jubliee Family Development Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg to host a community Teddy-Bear clinic. Designed to help children become more familiar with what they encounter during a doctor visit or check-up, the event fostered education by allowing the child to bring a teddy bear to act as a patient and placing the child in the role of the doctor.
“The purpose [of the Teddy Bear Clinic] was to help kids realize how important it is to live a healthy life,” said Ana Prashad, Class of 2018 and LUCOM-ACOP Vice President. “It was a great opportunity to host the event in the community where the Jubilee Family Center is located to allow us to help them serve the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Student-doctors spread information tables across the community center gym, each one representing a component of a visit to the doctor. Upon arrival, children “admitted” their teddy bear and obtained vital signs from them, height and weight, and documented the “patients” health concern. Acting as the physicians, each child was directed on how to utilize a stethoscope to hear simulated breathing and heart sounds and were allowed to listen to their own heart as well. Utilizing interactive activities, children were able to identify many of the bones of the human body followed by a nutrition station where incorporating fun games for children they were challenged to discover for themselves which foods were a healthy option and which foods they should limit.
The teddy bear suture clinic explained first-aid and safety while giving the children the chance to splint and wrap a broken bone of their teddy.
For the LUCOM student-doctors and children, the highlight of the clinic was the makeshift MRI and x-ray machines. “Student-doctors Jessica Deitrick, Camille Audette, and myself worked on building the MRI and x-ray machines covered in aluminum tablecloths. This was the most fun component of our teddy bear clinic,” said Prashad. “I think they looked great and the kids liked them.” After a teddy was scanned under the MRI and x-ray machines, children received paper print outs of their teddy’s bones and skeletal structure.
In its only second year, LUCOM-ACOP has demonstrated significant interest with over 50 members. According to Kaitlyn Kuntzman, Class of 2019 and LUCOM-ACOP President, more exciting events are in the works. “LUCOM is still a young college and so are the LUCOM-chapters, but already actively engaged with the community. For ACOP, we are planning our second annual Autism 101 seminar for September. We are inviting police, EMS, firefighters, and families from our community to talk about the importance of Autism awareness. Both physicians and emergency personnel need increased knowledge concerning how to best interact with and help both children and adults with autism.”
LUCOM-ACOP continues to strengthen and grow its relationship with the Boys and Girls Club/Jubilee Center of Lynchburg, as well as, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) chapter of Virginia, and the Special Olympics to support events that help educate both adults and children on living healthier lives.
“ACOP members are driven to advocate for the care and needs of children, and I think the Teddy Bear Clinic fit that very well. Also, part of LUCOM’s mission is to serve our fellow man, and I think this was a great opportunity to reach out to the community,” said Prashad.