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While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

It has been discovered that some granite kitchen countertops contain a dangerous amount of uranium. There is enough of the radioactive substance to exceed the yearly standard for visitors to nuclear facilities. It has been suggested that 85% of granite countertops are safe, but that is unacceptable. Granite countertops are fairly common, and many people have been unknowingly and unwillingly subjected to something that could possibly drastically increase the possibility of cancer. Any company making countertops should now check their materials thoroughly, recall unsafe counters, and allow testing and replacement for concerned consumers. How much of a concern is the situation really? It is unlikely cancer would be caused in a short amount of time for exposure, but ten years or more down the road a consumer who gets cancer may not know what the cause was. It is better to be safe than sorry; companies should respect that and consumers should project that in their actions.

This summer I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at the University of Virginia. As an aspiring doctor, the six weeks were more than worth the time and effort. During the program numerous doctors came to speak to our group of about seventy students on varying topics; everything from plastic surgery, urology, and optimology, to cardiology, radiology, and endocrinology. One of the lecturers, Dr. Cato Laurencin has been acknowledged as one of the top researchers in the world. We were also allowed to enter the anatomy lab where we saw a cadaver and an unfortunate collection of fetuses. In the autopsy area, we handled organs that were normal and damaged, included a human brain, heart, and lung. In smaller groups we toured different areas of the hospital, including the futuristic radiology area. Also, we had a chance to interview people at an elderly care center near Charlottesville. The people running the program were by far some of the most dedicated, caring indivivuals I had ever meet, and the culturally diverse participants were kind and talented. The most important part of the program, even more so than any of the great things I learned, is the friends that I made.