CAYMAN ISLANDS (September 29, 2021) – Health City Cayman Islands is celebrating a record intake of 18 students at the recent completion of its seventh annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.
The tertiary arm of Health City’s Healthcare Explorers education program, the SURF program is open to high-performing Caymanian high school and university students who are studying or intend to study medicine or allied health. The 2021 SURF Fellows and Junior Fellows were chosen through a competitive application process and completed their fellowships in July.
Mr Shomari Scott, Chief Business Officer at Health City Cayman Islands, said the 2021 group of students represented the largest, most diverse and highest qualified group of scholars ever to participate in SURF.
“We were pleased to offer internship places to 18 students representing universities, colleges and schools from China, Hawaii, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and the United States,” he said. “Health City provided each student with a four-week internship to learn first-hand from some of our best doctors and healthcare professionals, enabling the selected students to enrich their studies during the summer period.”
“Our broad group of interns worked across a number of specialties and with different mentors. I hope they will all take something meaningful away from their time at Health City which will help with their ongoing studies.”
Ms Chloe Bentick-Lalli, a SURF Junior Fellow, said SURF had not only allowed her to see the day-to-day work of doctors but also gave her the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience.
“I had the opportunity to complete a practical on surgical dummies, where I was able to learn to intubate a patient, practice inserting needles into scopes and use ultrasound,” she said.
“One of the highlights of SURF was being able to watch surgeries first-hand. I don’t know anywhere else in the world where a junior in high school can go and watch a surgery right there in the operating room next to the surgeon.”
Mr Charles D. Bush, Senior Education Coordinator at Health City Cayman Islands, said the Healthcare Explorers program engaged with a cross section of students over the summer through not only the SURF program, but also Shadow a Doctor placements as well as the annual STEM Day Camp.
“We had several Shadow a Doctor placements here with us over the summer. For those students it’s a great way to get a clear sense of what it’s like to be a practicing doctor and to decide if a career in medicine is right for them,” Mr Bush said.
“Shadow a Doctor is very popular with our high school students and many former shadowers credit this program as the single most important catalyst for their decision to enter medical school, nursing school or an allied health program of study.”
Shankar, a student from St. Ignatius Catholic High School, returned in July for his sixth Shadow a Doctor rotation.
“The Shadow a Doctor program is really encouraging for students who want to pursue a career in the healthcare sector. I have gotten invaluable experience and insight into being a doctor,” he said.
Mr Godfrey Williams, Head of Science, John Gray High School said that since Health City’s inception, the organization had used its professional and practical resources to enhance the learning experience of many students from John Gray High School.
“Health City is a shining example of a caring stakeholder in the education of Caymanian children. The Healthcare Explorers Shadow a Doctor program continues to evolve to reach the needs of students who aspire to medical careers,” he said.
Mr Bush said the Healthcare Explorers programs that ran over the summer were able to reach students across a wide range of age groups, with the 8th annual STEM Day Camp held in August being offered to children aged 10 to 14 years.
“We had 29 students and their parents come together to take part in fun activities, educational challenges, a scavenger hunt, and learn all about being a surgeon,” Mr Bush said. “The STEM Day Camp combines exploration, investigation, discovery and fun.”
The Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, Deputy Speaker and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, speaking at the STEM Day Camp said she was happy to see so many young people at the event.
“These type of activities really prepare you for your future,” she said. “We often say that this generation is so much smarter than our generation and these kinds of events are the reason why. I’m really excited to see the results of everyone’s efforts and diligence here today.”
Health City’s Healthcare Explorers has launched its 2021/22 program with an additional 3 new on-demand STEM videos, bringing its library to a total of 14 videos that schools of the Cayman Islands can obtain access to.
“As the new school year begins, we look forward to further working together with the students, schools, colleges and universities of Cayman as we continue providing rich, educational experiences through our many programs, that enhance learning and prepare the next generation of Caymanian doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals,” Mr Bush said.