Fewer than 3% of African-American 17-year-olds were proficient in science and math. - The National Assessment of Education Progress
African-Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics make up approximately 25% of the US population but only 6% of practicing physicians. –The Association of American Medical Colleges
Baltimore City still fares worse than the rest of the state of Maryland on almost every major health indicator, including heart disease, infant mortality, and asthma.” -Baltimore City Health Department, 2010
MERIT aims to create a pipeline of future leaders committed to eliminating health care disparities. We identify high-performing high school sophomores in Baltimore City and provide a holistic support system through their senior year.
MERIT strives to foster a sense of community among Scholars, mentors, teachers, volunteers, and families. Key milestones along the Scholar trajectory allow the entire community to reflect on our Scholars’ progress and the work that lies ahead.
Volunteer opportunities range from one-time commitments at an event to longitudinal involvement At MERIT, you can mentor, tutor, plan events, help with communications or fundraising, recruit new scholars, and much more.
Today, at MERIT’s Saturday session, junior scholars attended their third session of HPREP (Health Professional Recruitment and Exposure Program) with second year Johns Hopkins School of Medicine students, Ms. Pauls and Mr. Farmer. Scholars were also joined by a third guest, Ralphie the medical simulation model, from the Johns Hopkins Medical Simulation Center. After a quick introduction recapping last session’s HPREP on the cardiovascular system, scholars moved on to the gastrointenstinal system. Beginning with the mouth, scholars mapped through all the parts of the system including the stomach, pancreas, duodenum all the way to the rectum. After learning the basics of the system, Ralphie arrived to the Armstrong building in a wheelchair and was promptly laid down on the table for a physical exam. Using their percussing skills they learned from pervious HPREP sessions, scholars percussed Ralphie's chest and abdominal regions. All throughout the exam, Ralphie made audible responses like "Ouch! that hurts!" or "Ahhhh" allowing scholars to better gauge Ralphie's condition and most importantly, communicate with him to properly diagnose him. In turn, scholars communicated back with Ralphie, comforting him and detailing every step being taken to make him feel as comfortable as possible. Scholars also learned that Ralhpie experienced pains on his right side and had black stools. Moving on, Maxwell and Sharron used a stethoscope to listen for any irregular bowel movement to undersand where the pain was coming from.
Finally, with the help of Mr. Farmer and Ms. Pauls, scholars diagnosed Ralphie with a bleeding duodenal ulcer, a specific kind of ulcer that includes complications like bleeding, perforation, narrowing and obstruction. Scholars later learned that this can be caused by a variety of factors including infections, smoking, acid and pepsin, and NSAIDS.
With Ralphie properly diagnosed and treated, Mr. Farmer introduced scholars to an ethical discussion board. A topic scholars will definitely have to consider entering into the medical field, scholars were given a difficult task to rank the most deserving recipient of a liver transplant. Scholars had to consider factors like age, future wellbeing, costs and benefits among other things to choose who should be given the liver transplant the most. Is it Mario, the 6 month old with one year to live or Luke the 58 year old with two weeks to live?
Meanwhile, senior scholars were back in the Armstrong Building to update and revise their college applications with Ms. Kelley. Trevana has already completed her common application but with Ms. Kelley’s help she began to revise her essays for the schools she cares most about. While discussing their possible college prospects, Trevana opened up about her college visit experience and detailed the various cafeteria offerings (the good and the bad!), climate, housing options, etc. that will ultimately influence her final college choice next spring! We can’t wait to see where our senior scholars will end up!