October 24, 2021

Youths gain overview of medical profession at camp

Healthy example

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

Participants in the two-day Medical Academy of Science and Health camp take a break in the shade of the Airbus BK117-B2 helicopter from Mercy Flight in Marcellus that visited Guthrie Cortland Medical Center Thursday.

Owen Green hung on every word. Every question, his hand was up for an answer, as Tim DePaul of Mercy Flight in Canandaigua stood at the front of the classroom, explaining the capabilities of the soon-to-arrive Airbus BK177-B2 helicopter to the young people in the audience.

Green was one of 10 participants Wednesday on the first day of the two-day Medical Academy of Science and Health camp at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

Green, 12, put in some travel time to get there: He’s from Richville, in St. Lawrence County. He drove down Wednesday morning with his mother and cousin to attend the camp.

Owen said he definitely wants to do “something health-related” when he gets older, and that was the main reason he participated in the camp, which he said was teaching him there are “so many different jobs you can do in the medical field.”

He was drawn to this type of work because it’s universally necessary, he said.

Everyone working in medical occupations, he said, “is a part of something very important — keeping everybody safe and alive.”

Jarrod Kolodziejczyk, manager of volunteer service for Guthrie Cortland, said this is the 19th year that the hospital has hosted the MASH camp.

“It’s a great feeder program for our future clinicians,” he said.

And also for other areas, such as the type of work that Alfredo Cervantes does as a flight paramedic. Cervantes was one of the crewmembers of the Mercy Flight helicopter that landed across from the hospital. He credited his lifelong career as a paramedic to the 1970s television show “Emergency!” and he said he hoped his presentation inspired some of the kids in the MASH program.

Gianna Gacek, 13, of Marathon, already had a very definite idea of what she wants to do when she grows up: She wants to work in pediatric hematology oncology.

“I know a lot of people who have dealt with cancer,” she said.

Wednesday, the 10 participants attended classes and demonstrations on nursing, infection control, respiratory therapy and lab work. Today, they will learn about environmental services, cardiac rehabilitation, imaging, radiology as well as occupation, physical and speech therapy.