5th Graders to Learn About Careers in Health Care at Teddy Bear Clinic

El Paso fifth graders are about to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a health care provider — by taking care of teddy bears.

Nearly 1,350 elementary school students will treat teddy bears as pretend patients at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Teddy Bear Clinic. The event is designed to spark interest in health care careers at a young age. Twenty schools in the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) will participate.

“We try to plant a seed in these students at an early age so that they can eventually enter the health care field,” says Daniel Camacho, director of the TTUHSC El Paso Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and event organizer. “There is a real health care provider shortage in El Paso and the surrounding region, and with this event, we hope to interest more of our talented youth in choosing a health care career.”

At the event, the students will hear a short talk from a TTUHSC El Paso professor of physiology before taking their teddy bears through a variety of medical booths, including nursing and vital signs, and physician’s, radiology and counseling stations. The highlight of the clinic will be a walk-through brain exhibit, a giant 18 x 14-foot-long inflatable brain that will give students an interactive opportunity to learn about brain structures and functions, and to observe examples of brain trauma and disease. The exhibit is made possible by Medical Inflatables, a private Texas corporation that generously donated the inflatable for the event.

TTUHSC El Paso medical students will help run the stations, teaching the children about the various injuries or illnesses their bears may have. The medical students will use real medical equipment to demonstrate how a doctor or nurse would handle the case in real life.

“Children typically have anxiety about going to see a doctor, but this teddy bear approach will hopefully help make them more comfortable with the thought of going,” Camacho adds.

The AHEC provides education and development services to kindergarten through college-age students throughout the year to help set the foundation for the future of health care in West Texas.

The 2017 Teddy Bear Clinic is sponsored by TTUHSC El Paso, the TTUHSC El Paso AHEC, and the Guidance and Counseling Services at EPISD.

What: Teddy Bear Clinic

When: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 19

Where: Gymnasium, Maxine Silva Health Magnet High School, 121 Val Verde Street