PCOM Georgia ‘Goes Big’ at Atlanta Science FestivalApril 7, 2023
Thunderstorms in the early morning of Saturday, March 25 belied the beautiful day
it would become as PCOM Georgia shone brightly at the Atlanta Science Festival, which attracted about 18,000 attendees
to Piedmont Park in midtown Atlanta. A PCOM Georgia festival organizer, Darnae Parks,
director of Diversity and Community Partnerships, lauded students and employees alike for their “efforts to bring PCOM Georgia to
the Greater Atlanta Community.”
Earlier in the year, Dean and Chief Academic Officer Andrea Mann, DO, had challenged the campus to “Go Big” for the annual event resulting in the campus
upping its sponsorship and hosting nine exhibit booths.
PCOM Georgia has had a booth at the festival for the past several years. However,
this year, Kim Lucier, director of operations, Jodi Scott, director of communications
for the Office of Admissions, and Parks spearheaded planning meetings beginning last fall and challenged each
PCOM Georgia program to provide an activity to engage children and represent the college
to the thousands of attendees.
One hundred and thirty seven PCOM Georgia students, faculty and staff worked the booths,
which attracted “huge crowds,” Lucier said. Calling the event a “mini team-building
activity with our PCOM family,” she added, “An amazing unintended result was that
all the programs worked harmoniously to achieve the same goal. The laughter and smiles
were contagious as I watched the interactions with all the participants at our booths.”
“While the kids made slime to learn about blood or dug for bones in the sand, parents
could be heard asking our students about their programs and how they chose their career
path,” she noted.
Calling the event “the biggest volunteer effort in PCOM Georgia’s history,” Parks
said, “The smiles and the ‘lightbulb’ moments that I witnessed made a lasting impression
on me. We made a difference in people’s lives on Saturday. Teamwork makes the dream
work. I am PCOM Georgia proud!”
Activities included demonstrations of how medical laboratory scientists view blood cells and types of blood cells under a microscope, while learning how
blood contributes to a diagnosis by providers. There were skeleton-naming and prescription-filling
activities. Attendees built a lung model and learned what happens when you take a
breath. Participants guessed the amount of sugar in various foods and beverages to
increase awareness of diabetes.
Kids made slime, while learning about the various blood components including red and
white blood cells and platelets. They dug up bones and learned why bones are the buried
treasure of the body. Physical therapy students conducted strength, flexibility, posture and balance assessments, while the Community Wellness Initiative booth offered blood pressure checks. In fact, this exhibit was so popular that attendees
were lined up for blood pressure checks at the end of the festival! As always, the
Simbulance and mannequins attracted a steady stream of visitors.
Daniela Gutierrez (DO ’26) said, “It made me very proud to be part of an institution
that does so much for the Atlanta population.” Gutierrez helped staff the blood pressure
booth where adults were invited to get free blood pressure checks. “We were so busy.
It makes me happy to be of service and get the community to understand the importance
of watching your cardiovascular health,” she said.
One of her favorite memories of the day was interacting with two brothers who said
they wanted to practice medicine when they grew up, which prompted PCOM Georgia students
to place their white coats on the children. “It was the cutest thing,” she said.
Dr. Mann thanked the volunteers for representing PCOM Georgia “in a big, huge way!”
She added, “We definitely did what we set out to do. PCOM Georgia proud, for sure!
And a special thank you to Kim and Darnae for their boots-on-the-ground leg work.
It was a mountain to move, and they did it with skill and grace.”
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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, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
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. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. 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 pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
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