Truckee, North Tahoe students participate in cadaver surgery at UNR | SierraSun.com

Truckee, North Tahoe students participate in cadaver surgery at UNR

Special to the Sun

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Roughly 30 Truckee and North Tahoe High School students recently experienced what it would be like to work as an orthopedic surgeon with the help of University of Nevada Medical School and Tahoe Forest Health System.

The students who are enrolled in AP biology and human body systems classes were taken on a tour in mid-May of the medical school's anatomy and physiology lab in Reno, and then got to observe and participate in a total knee replacement surgery on a cadaver.

This is only the second time UNR has hosted a field trip like this for high school students in its advanced surgical training lab.

Olivia Yale, a senior at Truckee High School, was a member of the first field trip and helped coordinate this year's trip.

"It inspired me to pursue a career in medicine," Yale said of the field trip. "I wrote about the experience in my college application essays and I believe it's what helped me get into University of California, Berkeley. This trip truly immerses students in the world of medicine." 

Dan Coll, Tahoe Forest Hospital director of orthopedics, worked with Yale and helped organize the surgery with Truckee orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jay Foley and other Tahoe Forest Health System surgical support staff.

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"The goal of the trip, beyond providing a unique learning experience, is for the students to learn more about career paths in medicine and jobs right here in the area at Tahoe Forest Health System" Coll explained. "There is a whole continuum of people that make a surgery happen and the students got to make those connections today."

Paul Smith, AP biology teacher at Truckee High, said last year's trip inspired several students to consider careers in medicine and he is hopeful this year will do the same thing.

"They were just blown away by it. For the kids to have an opportunity to see anatomy first hand where they are not dissecting an animal, but to see a human body, and meet medical students who are doing dissections and having those medical students lead them through a walk-through of the body is just a fascinating experience for them," Smith said. "And to see UNR, many of them had never been on campus before today."

Margarita Ziegler, a senior at Truckee High, is taking the school's human body systems class and said the trip was "very cool."

"This is an experience you can't really get unless you're a medical student," she said. "It's not just a watching, listening thing. We got to touch and ask questions."

This article was provided by Tahoe Forest Hospital District. Visit tfhd.com to learn more.