LUCOM-ACOP hosts Teddy Bear Clinic, educates children on doctor’s role
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LUCOM) chapter of American College of Osteopathic Physicians (ACOP) hosted its second Teddy Bear Clinic earlier this month at Amazement Square in Lynchburg, Va. The clinic provided an opportunity for children to experience the daily roles of a doctor and to help ease any nervousness caused by visiting a doctor.
Student-doctors were stationed at eight different tables throughout Amazement Square with various screenings taking place such as heart, dental hygiene, and exercise to help children learn about the daily responsibilities of a doctor through the eyes of their stuffed animal. “ACOP made an impact on our local community through the interactions with our student-doctors because we have amazing club members that truly care about children,” said Kaitlyn Kuntzman, Class of 2019, LUCOM-ACOP President. “Their kindness and enthusiasm as they taught children about the heart, dental hygiene, and exercise is what the parents and kids will remember most about this clinic.”
Thomas Ilustrisimo, Class of 2019, LUCOM-ACOP Treasurer, coordinated the Teddy Bear Clinic and set up a successful event that got the community involved as well as Liberty University’s School of Nursing. “This was an opportunity to reach out into the local community and get kids excited about the healthcare field,” said Ilustrisimo. “It helps build up confidence in our abilities to communicate across various age demographics (young children, adolescents, and adults) and to increase awareness about LUCOM in Lynchburg while providing a fun environment for kids to learn about health.”
Events such as the Teddy Bear Clinic will help prepare student-doctors to work with children while also teaching children about health and wellness. “To be able to make learning about medicine fun is something that needs practice, and this clinic helped our members practice ‘medicine’ with the patient population they hope to one-day serve,” said Kuntzman. A hope for Kuntzman was that the event would have a good turnout from the local community and that student-doctors would be able to teach children about different aspects of wellness, eliminating some anxiety children might have about going to the doctor. “LUCOM is such a unique learning environment for students because we are constantly surrounded by support and positivity, especially from professors who want us to succeed,” said Kuntzman. “We have resources and access to the best the medical community has to offer, but we also have an incredible spirit of encouragement that is evident in our LUCOM community.”
LUCOM-ACOP hosts community service events as opportunities for student-doctors to go outside of the normal day-to-day medical school environment and into the lives of their future patients. Hosting events like this helps to keep student-doctors community oriented. Additionally, student organizations frequently host guest speakers who provide insight into what ACOP student-doctors future careers will look like.