JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - High school students from across Arkansas are learning about medicine at the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University this week.
Students from across the Delta, including east Arkansas and the bootheel of Missouri, are attending Project HEART, which stands for Health Education, Advocacy, Reflection, and Training.
On Wednesday, the participants were learning about anatomy.
They got to use some technology that is new to the college as well.
The school recently got a grant from the Blue and You Foundation to buy virtual reality headsets to study anatomy.
"It's just a great new aspect because students love technology," said NYIT Assistant Dean Amanda Deel. "So we love incorporating that into their learning and into their exploration into healthcare."
The technology gives students an inside look at the human heart before they dissected a pig's heart in the gross anatomy lab.
"Many medical schools are going to not using cadavers but using virtual reality or 3D type of imaging to teach anatomy so this is kind of a glimpse into that," Deel said. "It allows them to look at the heart, twist the heart, turn it, go inside the heart, travel within an artery of the heart."
Dr. Deel said the program is an outreach to students who might be interested in attending the medical school but also helps students learn how they can help improve wellness in their own community.
The students are required to do research about their town before coming to the camp.
"They find out what their graduation rate from high school is, does their community have a doctor and a dentist, if not, how far is the nearest one," Dr. Deel explained. "Do they have a hospital and if so, what does it offer, a public library, do they have a place to get fresh food, do they have a place to exercise in a safe environment."
And at the end of the camp, the students will be better prepared to make their community a little bit healthier.
"One of the things that we tell the students is if they want to make a difference in their community, you can start today," Deel said. "You don't have to obtain that nursing license or therapist license or that physician license to make an impact in your community. If you see a need, you can address it. So we give the students and work with them to develop a toolkit and they can take that toolkit back to their community and replicate it to bring healthy eating and healthy activity back."