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Live from Chicago: Scecina science students go inside the heart

Students in Scecina's  anatomy and Human Body Systems classes took part in Live from the Heart. Below, surgeons perform a triple bypass. The surgery was shown to Scecina students via videoconference in an auditorium at Community Hospital East.

By Beth Murphy,
Director of Marketing Communications

A live patient. An open-heart surgery. A skilled medical team in real time performing a complicated cardiac procedure.

It was an intersection of the wonders of modern medicine and modern videoconferencing. There, up on the screen, was the heart of one 65-year-old heavy-smoking male undergoing a triple bypass at Chicago’s Advocate Christ Medical Center. Watching from more than 180 miles away, in an auditorium at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, were 60 Scecina science students. 

For the third year, in what now is an annual experience, Scecina science students were taking part in Live From The Heart, a program facilitated by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (MSI). 

“It’s such a rare opportunity (for students) to talk to a surgical team as they are actually performing a surgery,” said Sarah Smith, chair of Scecina’s Science Department and STEM coordinator. “The team is very open to questions and patient with the students, even when kids repeat questions.”

Each year Ms. Smith coordinates the videoconference surgery experience for students in anatomy and Human Body Systems classes, which are taught by Matt Black and Blake Heim. The study of the heart is part of the courses’ curriculum. The Human Body Systems class is among Scecina’s four-year Biomedical Science sequence, a partnership with Project Lead The Way.

The museum touts the experience as a chance to "talk to the team, learn about heart health and find out about medical careers." This unique learning opportunity came about through the help of Scecina alumnus Jim Drury ’60, an MSI Board member. Ms. Smith said Live From The Heart let kids to experience medicine in action and also watch teamwork in action.

“It’s really a good opportunity to see how the surgical team works together, and all the different members of the team,” she said. “They could see all the different jobs. If you’re thinking about one career in medicine, and then you see the anesthesiologist, you might think about that career.” 

Junior Lorena Luna, now in her third year in Scecina’s Biomedical Science program, has planned to become a pediatrician. The Live From The Heart experience of watching a complete surgical team has her considering other medical careers.

“It definitely showed me that there are a lot more fields than just pediatrician,” Lorena said. “Now I’m open to looking at more medical jobs, and even maybe considering becoming a surgeon.”  

Live From The Heart was perfect for junior Katie Circharo. She wants to be a cardiac surgeon. She had watched videos of heart surgeries, but watching live was a chance to be involved interactively.

“You could communicate with doctors up there on the screen at the time,” Katie said. “It was better than watching the videos.” 

Learn more by clicking this link: Live from The Heart

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