Students explore how science 'operates'

March 05, 2009

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center announced today the launch of an innovative new partnership designed to stimulate the interest of high school students in careers in health care. With funding provided by Highmark Blue Shield, Surgery Live! at Whitaker Center’s Harsco Science Center will allow students to enter the operating rooms of Penn State Hershey Medical Center through interactive high definition videoconferencing technology.

Over the next four years, the Surgery Live! program will provide students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the human anatomy. During the first session on March 5, students from Lower Dauphin and Carlisle high schools will see and hear a Minimally Invasive Advanced Bariatric surgical case, in real time, and will be permitted to ask questions at certain points during the surgical procedure.

“We are pleased to introduce Surgery Live! to students and educators in this region,” said Dr. Michael Hanes, Whitaker Center president and CEO. “Surgery Live! is a great example of the kind of innovative, cutting-edge educational programming that will be the future focus for Whitaker Center. We are particularly pleased that our partners, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Highmark Blue Shield, share our excitement and enthusiasm for the program. From the early planning stages, they have collaborated as colleagues and equal partners in this ground breaking venture.”

"Surgery Live provides a unique opportunity to students who have the interest and aptitude to pursue a career in health care,” said Dr. Harold L. Paz, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center CEP, senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of Penn State College of Medicine. “Our experienced health care professionals will answer questions, directly from students — questions about their personal career choices, as well as their day-to-day work experiences and educational background. We hope the answers ultimately guide some of these bright young people toward a fulfilling career in health care or the health sciences

Through pre-visit activities and by interacting with medical professionals as they perform their duties within the operating room, students will explore the variety of health careers that are involved in a surgical procedure.

Students will learn how medical professionals apply elements of the scientific method to make critical observations of each patient, prepare accurate diagnoses and effectively treat diseases.

By observing the live surgical procedure and engaging in a group discussion, students will gain an increased understanding of unhealthily living habits, how these can lead to disease and the need for surgery, and how healthy lifestyle choices can help people avoid surgery.

In addition to explaining the operation as it happens, members of the surgical team will also describe their responsibilities and careers in health care, making those careers more interesting and accessible. Whitaker Center’s Director of Education, Lori Lauver, will facilitate the students’ discussion with operating room staff, demonstrate surgical instruments used in the operation, and explain factors that cause disease and contribute to conditions that place patients on the operating table.

There are only three programs similar to Surgery Live! at science centers in the U.S. These include Surgical Suite at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio; Live from the Heart at the museum of Science and Industry in Chicago; and Cardiac Classroom at the Liberty Science Museum in Jersey City, N.J.

Surgery Live! was made possible with the generous funding from Highmark Blue Sheild.

Their continued support over the next fours years will help provide area high schools with this cutting-edge educational opportunity.

Upcoming Surgery Live! Sessions:

•    March 23, 2009

•    April 6, 2009

•    April 13, 2009

•    May 4, 2009

•    May 11, 2009

For more information about Surgery Live! please visit or call (717) 214-ARTS.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009