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High Schoolers Interested in Medicine Can Watch Real Live Surgeries

June 12, 2024

High Schoolers Interested in Medicine Can Watch Real Live Surgeries

Certain skills can’t be taught in a traditional classroom. But, if a high school student wants to understand what goes on inside an operating room, they can peek into a real heart or brain surgery — streamed live — into Liberty Science Center, an interactive science museum and learning center.

Atlantic Health System’s “Live from Surgery Series” streams from the operating rooms of Morristown and Overlook medical centers. Not only can students watch a surgery in action, but they can also talk to the surgeons and medical teams during the procedure.

A Vision to Inspire the Next Generation

It was the vision of John Brown III, MD, chair of cardiovascular surgery at Morristown Medical Center, that helped create this partnership between Liberty Science Center and the hospital’s surgical team back in 1998.

“For a quarter century, we’ve helped pique the interest of the next generation of doctors, surgeons and health professionals,” says Dr. Brown, who received an innovation award from Liberty Science Center in 2002 for his work. “When students are able to interact with medical professionals this way it can inspire them to consider health care as a career.”

An Up-Close Look at Anatomy and Technology

Fabio Frisoli, MD, chair of the department of Neurosurgery at Overlook Medical Center is also part of the partnership and admits that broadcasting a surgery doesn’t always grab a teenager’s attention, but this type of unique field experience immerses students into the operating room and really engages them.

“Showing surgical gowns in a room with equipment and instruments isn’t enough,” says Dr. Frisoli. “These students want to see anatomy up close and talk with the surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists or anyone involved in the surgery — and we make that happen.”

Dr. Brown adds that the procedures students are seeing today are drastically different than what they saw when the program started nearly 30 years ago. He says, “The greatest transformation in cardiac surgery has been the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) that has replaced traditional open-heart surgeries.”

The TAVR procedure involves replacing a patient’s aortic valve by inserting a catheter into their groin or chest. This allows access to the heart without a long incision across a patient’s chest.

Dedicated Space for Medical Education

The success of this joint program between Atlantic Health System and Liberty Science Center has earned its own neuro-auditorium — a space named for retired Overlook Medical Center neurosurgeon Richard Hodosh, MD. The space allows the science center to broadcast live cardiac and neuroscience surgeries into classrooms around the world, including South Africa, China and Great Britain.

Surgeons Are Expanding Young Minds

“There are many roles within a health care team and many different skills needed to be successful,” says Dr. Brown. “This program is unique in many ways and students benefit from witnessing a surgery and interacting with medical professionals. It opens doors for any student envisioning a career in the medical field.”

Dr Frisoli agrees and credits his father, a physician at Overlook Medical Center for more than 30 years, for piquing his interest in medicine.
“I have always loved to teach, and this is a rare opportunity,” he says. “We’re showing these kids a world of opportunity they may not have considered and giving them a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes. Access to this type of educational experience is unique and, any time we get someone involved, it’s a win.”

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