Edward Ortiz | Photo courtesy EPISD
Silva Health Magnet’s Edward Ortiz rubbed elbows with Nobel Prize winners and other accomplished physicians and scientists last month when he served as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders.
The Congress is an honors-only program for approximately 4,000 high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The event hopes to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country interested in these careers to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.
“The Congress is a platform where great speakers can give their knowledge to the delegates for the purpose of extending the medical field with our help,” Ortiz said. “I am going to use the experiences I had to help with something in our society. For now, I am planning to join a small group of school journalists who have founded ‘Accessible Science,’ which takes complex science articles and makes them ready to read and understandable for younger audiences,” he added.
During the two-day Congress March 20-21, Ortiz heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading medical research. They also received advice from Ivy League and top medical school deans on what to expect in medical school, listened to stories told by patients who are living medical miracles and were inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies.
Ortiz and other participants also learned about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.
“I learned mostly how there are so many occupations with amazing research and tech in the medical field, but you have a calling to which profession you want to do,” Ortiz said. “My dream colleges were always Duke and Johns Hopkins and to study anesthesiology from either place.”
During the conference, Ortiz witnessed an artificial heart replacement surgery and a shoulder ball and socket replacement surgery.
“The best part of the congress had to be both surgeries since I’ve always been intrigued on how these surgeons do their work,” he said. “Learning from these people was something amazing that I wish everyone could have the opportunity to learn from them as well.
The freshman, who’s currently talking classes virtually, takes advantage of STEM programs offered at Silva and even made it to the state science fair as a middle schooler. He looks forward to doing more as the pandemic begins to wane and life gets back to normal.
“I never thought that I’d be able to do the things I can accomplish now 5 or 6 years ago. You should always believe in yourself,” he said. “If you’re depressed or think you can never be successful, I was in those shoes, and a little bit of perseverance can go a long way.”