Red Sox Scholars visit BIDMC
With eyes wide in amazement five Boston Public Schools 8th graders studied a normal prostate and one with prostate cancer. A hushed silence fell on the room as urology researcher Simo Arredouani, PhD, explained the condition found in men.
"How can I stay healthy? Are there exams to check your prostate?" asked Cullen Lee, who was visiting BIDMC as part of the annual Red Sox Scholars Shadow Day. He and his male classmates breathed a collective sigh of relief when Arredouani told them prostate cancer was not an illness they needed to be screened for until they were 50.
"But it is important to have a healthy lifestyle," Arredouani told the group in his lab. "There are also studies that show eating broccoli can decrease your chance of getting prostate cancer."
The urology cancer lab was one of four units hosting the 35 8th grade students from middle schools around the city. The Red Sox Scholars program is the educational cornerstone of the Red Sox Foundation, the team charity of the Boston Red Sox, and is presented by BIDMC, the Official Hospital of the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Nation. Each year, a new class of eighth graders is selected to receive a college scholarship, along with access to tutoring and mentoring from Red Sox Foundation staff members and other after school enrichment activities.
BIDMC provides volunteers to serve as "Medical Champions" for the scholars. These generous health care professionals help introduce the youngsters to health professions and serve as hosts of a "Shadow Day." This year, the students visited Arredouani's lab, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the blood bank and gastroenterology.
"I really enjoyed how they are working in the lab to find a cure for cancer," said Lee, who attends the Josiah Quincy Upper School and hopes to attend medical school.
After touring Arredouani's lab, the students headed to the NICU where Neonatoly chief DeWayne Pursley, MD, shared how BIDMC cares for premature babies. Respiratory therapists Michael Jackson and Glenn Housefield explained how ventilators worked to help the babies breathe and each student practiced inserting a breathing tube into a model of a premature baby.
"I learned today how you feed babies in the NICU and check their blood sugar," said Shakeena Crooks, an 8th grader at Boston Latin Academy. "I was surprised at how small the babies are in the NICU."