In 1994, Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading the effort to recognize Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a day of service with the motto, "day on, not a day off." Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. left an unforgettable legacy. In 1957, King said to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” To that end, the Stanford Anesthesiology Department responded by partnering with California Society of Anesthesiology (CSA), Office of CA State Senator Jerry Hill, Office of CA State Assemblymember Evan Low, Project Lead The Way, and Palo Alto High School Teacher Elizabeth Brimhall to engage and encourage Palo Alto High School students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
Stanford’s Project Lead The Way partnership was launched last year on April 5, 2019 at Willow Glen High School. It has continued to bring together specially trained teachers, eager students, physicians, and residents from Stanford’s Anesthesiology Department to help bring rigorous, project-based biomedical sciences curriculum into the classroom, and offer hands-on learning to encourage the next generation of health care providers. In remembrance of MLK Jr., the Stanford Anesthesiology residents went to Palo Alto High School’s science class. They provided insight into a variety of health care careers, mentorship on college admission, and advanced medical training.
The high school students used design thinking to address common problems encountered by anesthesiologists on a daily basis. The anesthesiology residents guided the students on engineering equipment to keep patients safe during operations. They stressed the importance of principles such as intubating equipment that can deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The students then performed intubations on adult mannequins.
In addition to going to Palo Alto High School in remembrance of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Stanford Anesthesiology Department residents and faculty have gone to Willow Glen High School and Leland High School. Student comments about their favorite part and reflections included: “application of CRM [Crisis Resource Management] and I got to act as a leader,” “delegation is important,” and “working in groups and learning how to be a leader.”
The anesthesiology residents who taught the class have said: “I left feeling inspired and grateful for the opportunity to impact the lives of the next generation,” “…teaching a curious mind and fielding student questions helped reinvigorate my passion for my specialty,” “It was great to see high school students so excited to learn about what we do!”
The Stanford Anesthesiology Department will be hosting each of the three high schools at the state of the art simulation center at the VA Palo Alto in Spring 2020. The simulation center is where anesthesiology residents work with instructors on mannequins to practice leadership skills, medical crisis training, and keeping patients safe during surgery.