PITTSBURGH CAPA STUDENT Londyn Davis talks with a UPMC Children’s physician during the Nov. 9 event. (Photo by Gail Manker)

Pittsburgh CAPA student Londyn Davis wants to be a pediatrician. She loves helping people, loves the medical field, and “really loves the environment of a hospital.”

Talk about getting a firsthand look. Davis was among 130 Pittsburgh Public Schools students who spoke directly with physicians and other medical professionals at UPMC Children’s Hospital, Nov. 9, as part of a youth symposium entitled, “Bridge 2 The Future.”

Terry Smith, founder of M-Powerhouse, told the Courier his organization is committed to “addressing the educational, social and economic factors that impact our young people.”

Smith, along with Kashif Henderson, PPS’ coordinator for K-12 gifted and talented students, collaborated on this effort to bring students and doctors together. “The key is trying to challenge the (students’) critical thinking process, and the way we can do that is by acting as a scaffold,” Smith told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.

PITTSBURGH OBAMA STUDENTS Iana Watson and Dabriaira Edwards at the youth symposium at UPMC Children’s.

“We want to create a cadre of medical professionals for the future,” Smith continued. Under the M-Powerhouse umbrella, Smith said, is a Medical Milestone program, where, in time, Smith is hopeful of “creating a curriculum in which we could actually ensure that our young people go through your basic anatomy, physiology, cardiology, etc., and once the 12-week program is up, they get a certificate and a stethoscope.”

Students at the event heard from African American physicians and other professionals, along with the aforementioned one-on-one discussions with physicians such as Unoma Akamagwuna, a pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician who has been been at UPMC Children’s for two years. “I want to show them that someone who looks like them can also do this,” Akamagwuna said. “It’s important to see people who look like you doing things that you aspire to do, because if you don’t see it, how do you know that you can achieve it?”

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