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Future doctors get a first taste of medicine

The Gross Anatomy Lab at the University of South Florida and the low ropes course at Camp E-Nini-Hassee in Floral City seemed to tie as favorite stopping points during a health careers camp for Citrus County students interested in medical careers.

"I loved the Gross Anatomy Lab," said Myka Reed, 15, who is interested in a career in veterinary medicine. "It was so cool. I got to hold a head and take out its brain. It was like a giant puzzle."

Melinda Gangi, 15, who is undecided about which medical field she will enter, learned at least one thing at the lab, where they saw heads, arms, a kneecap, one half of a pelvis and a heart. "I realized I could handle the gross anatomy stuff," she said.

Keni Howze, 15, also enjoyed the lab, for as long as she could. "I liked the Gross Anatomy Lab until I got sick and left," she said.

"My favorite part was the low ropes course," said Dave Arnold, 16, who is interested in a career that combines medicine and math. "But it didn't really have anything to do with careers. It was team building."

The lab, the ropes and a number of other stops were part of a four-day field trip organized by Crystal River Health Academy teacher Hugh Adkins and the Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center, a not-for-profit agency that seeks, according to its brochure, "to improve the access, supply and distribution of health care services in medically underserved areas."

The camp was sponsored by AHEC through a grant and was attended by 30 Crystal River High School and Lecanto High School students, the majority of them coming from CRHS's Health Academy. They were chosen through applications and recommendations.

The first day (April 19) the students went to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry where they camped overnight. After the museum closed Sunday, the chaperoned students stayed to participate in a variety of activities concerning the human body, including a knowledge scavenger hunt.

The next morning the students toured the University of South Florida, including the Gross Anatomy Lab. Melissa Cerrone, 15, of Crystal River High, particularly enjoyed the USF tour. "It got me so interested in going to college," she said. "I was scared before, but I'm ready now."

Melissa hopes to be a pediatrician someday because, she said, "I think children are more interesting than adults. They can't tell you where it hurts. It's like a mystery. You have to figure it out. I love little kids."

Jessica Jobe, 15, got excited about one career after another as she visited USF. "Every time I saw a new career it was like, "That's what I want to do,' " she said.

Dave Arnold, 16, agreed with her. "Everywhere we went, I was positive I wanted to do that."

On April 21 the group traveled to Gainesville to visit Shands Hospital at the University of Florida and an FBI forensics lab. "I liked the forensics lab," said Dave, "when we got to see how they searched for fingerprints and stuff. Not everybody liked it, but I liked it."

The place that seemed to grip the attention of most of the students during the trip to Shands was the neo-natal intensive care unit. "It was shocking to see how tiny those babies are," said Melissa.

"It was so sad," said Monique Bunch, 15, of Crystal River High, who also hopes to someday be a pediatrician.

The final day was spent in the county, visiting the Citrus County Health Department and then participating in the ropes course at the camp. Landy Hulse, 15, may have changed his career plans as a result of touring the county facility.

"Going into the trip, I wanted to be a surgeon," he said. "But now that I've seen the public health part, I'm leaning towards that."