Local Youth Explore Health Careers at PCOM Georgia


January 27, 2020

Students and faculty help Gwinnett and Fulton County high schoolers learn about careers in medicine.


An 82-year old woman is brought to the Emergency Department by paramedics. She was sleeping when someone knocked on her bedroom window and ran away. Scared, she called the police who in turn called for an ambulance.

The elderly woman is able to talk, but can’t complete sentences because she’s having difficulty breathing. Her legs are swollen and a crackling sound is detected in her lungs.

This is the scenario that around 35 junior and senior high school students, members of the Northside Gwinnett Medical Explorer Post 540, faced when they visited PCOM Georgia recently. PCOM Georgia is a college of osteopathic medicine which also provides programs in pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and biomedical sciences.

In the makeshift emergency department, student doctor Tyler Raeford, MS/Biomed ’18, (DO ’22), walks the Medical Explorers through a thorough assessment of the patient. Combined with radiology reports and lab results from the Simulation Center team, the diagnosis of congestive heart failure is made.

Faculty members in the Anatomy Lab use specimen and a Mondo Board to discuss the implications of this disease on the body. Finally a pharmacy faculty member discusses the critical role that a pharmacist plays in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

By joining the Medical Explorer post, the high school students have indicated an interest in the healthcare field. The program at PCOM Georgia, under the leadership of Administrative Services and Events Manager Kim Lucier, is designed to illustrate how different team members play important roles in helping to treat patients.

Following the case presentation, a panel consisting of students in the osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physician assistant programs answered questions. The high school students wanted to know – What is the difference between an MD and a DO? How do you decide which healthcare field you’d like to pursue? What is your life like – is it just school, school, school? How do you get into medical school and why did you choose PCOM Georgia?

Susan Powell, RN, BSN, leads the program for Northside Gwinnett. She said, “For many years, PCOM has graciously hosted a visit from our Medical Explorer group. And this year, as always, they did not disappoint!”

She added, “Our Explorers gave rave reviews to their experiences for the evening, especially to the student Q & A panel. The panel gave practical, real-world advice to the students. Many are graduating high school seniors trying to decide ‘what they want to be when they grow up’! We look forward to many more years of bringing our Medical Explorer group to PCOM Georgia.”

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About PCOM Georgia

Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.

For more information, contact:

Barbara Myers
Public Relations Manager
Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

Connect with PCOM Georgia