A local teen spent three days last month learning from some of the best and brightest in the medical industry. On June 26-28, Logandale resident, Rebecca Rebman, 16, attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts.
The event brought together 4,500 high school students to the University of Massachusetts, Boston from all over the country. All of these students had demonstrated high academic achievement and strong leadership potential. And all were interested in pursuing the medical field.
Rebman, who is interested in training to be a registered nurse after high school, said that she was impressed by the caliber of youth attending the event. She was especially struck by the group’s focus and discipline over the three long days. The Congress was held from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm each day, with breaks only for lunch and dinner.
“Usually with a teen-age group our attention span can be pretty short,” Rebman said. “But this group stayed engaged and paying attention for the entire schedule all day. Everyone was taking notes, being attentive, and participating in the presentations.”
Despite the long days, Rebman emphasized that the Congress was far from dull or boring for the students. “It was amazing!” she said in an interview last week. “All the speakers from start to finish were leaders in their fields. They talked about their ideas, we got to watch their techniques and hear about their advances in technology.”
Many of the presenters at the Congress were just teens themselves; medical science prodigies who had dared to dream of new medical advances, and brought them into reality.
One of these young presenters was Jack Andraka who, as a high school freshman, invented a new method of possibly detecting early stage pancreatic cancer.
Another presenter was Olivia Hallisey, a teen from Greenwich, Connecticut who developed a groundbreaking new test for diagnosing the ebola virus. The test won Hallisey the first prize in the 2015 Google Science Fair.
“She was only 16 when she figured that out,” Rebman said of Hallisey. “It was pretty amazing.”
Of course, these were just the tip of the iceberg in what was presented to the youth attendees. Presenters at the Congress included four Nobel Prize winners. One presenter was the recipient of the first ever successful full-face transplant.
Congress attendees were able to watch a surgeon in action. Renowned laparoscopic surgeon Adrian Park demonstrated a minimally invasive surgical procedure to repair a hiatal hernia. The youth in attendance were able to watch the operation and ask questions of the surgeon while the surgery was ongoing.
“He was talking and explaining things to us while he was working on the patient,” Rebman said. “It was pretty incredible to see somewhat that steady-minded and experienced to do that.”
Rebman said that she came away from the Congress with a renewed respect for the brilliant minds in the medical profession.
“It is definitely a career to look up to, with so many people who want to save lives,” she said. “I just think that the medical field is amazing.”