LEBANON — Six-year-old Hope Simpson told Dr. Derrick Sorweide of COMP-Northwest that her favorite food is the strawberry — because she loves its dark red color.
Sorweide quickly praised her choice, adding that strawberries are also high in nutritional value, making them a good choice in a balanced diet.
Hope was one of nearly 300 kindergartners from Lebanon’s elementary schools who scrubbed away make-believe germs from their hands Tuesday morning and donned pint-sized surgical scrubs and masks at the third annual Mini-Medical School. Participating schools were Green Acres, Sand Ridge, River View, East Linn Christian, Cascade and Pioneer.
The event was sponsored by the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon and Western University of Health Science, COMP-Northwest.
COMP-Northwest students and staff welcomed youngsters at several stations throughout the medical school including hygiene, the operating room, the skeleton and the heart.
In the operating room, one child from each group was invited to wear a vest that held plush likenesses of internal organs.
Volunteer patient Griffin Stocking of Green Acres School, hopped up on an operating table as his gowned counterparts circled around. COMP-Northwest students guided them through the value of each of the organs.
“What does the liver do?” Kristina Hart of Denver, Colo., asked. “It helps store energy. And, our kidneys are so important, we have two of them. They are filters.”
Hart was assisted in the surgery suite by Adam Burch, from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
In a nearby hallway, student Alyssa Horne of Ridgefield, Wash., shined a black light onto 5-year-old Sophia Dalziel’s hands, checking for make-believe germs. A squirt of Glo gel was placed on her hands and she was instructed to wash them thoroughly with soap and water and to come back for a check up. The black light showed any missed spots — called fake germs by the leaders.
Gwyn Mahony of Redway, Calif., explained that the lungs bring oxygen into the body and blood circulates it throughout the organs.
She added that to keep their organs healthy, the youngsters need to eat healthy foods, exercise and wash their hands properly.
Children from Pioneer School were fascinated by the skeleton as Tina Lierman of Seattle and Stacy Sprauer of Silverton led them through an exercise pointing out important bone structures and what they do.
Jeannie Davis coordinated the program and said certificates were presented to 261 future doctors.
“We want the kids to learn about the medical school and what we do here,” Davis said. “We also want to teach them about being healthy and not being afraid to visit a doctor. It’s also a lot of fun for all of us.”