Earlier this month, Trinity School of Medicine conducted physicals for seventy student athletes at the St. Vincent Girls’ High School prior to the high school’s annual sports meet. The initiative was instituted after discovering a previously unknown condition in one young woman, and provided valuable pediatric experience for Trinity’s students.
According Athalie Caine-Soleyntom the school’s deputy headmistress, the measure was put in place to ensure the young athletes were up to the challenge of a sports event that included track & field events. The sports physical, not intended to disqualify any young athlete, was used by the school and its staff to determine the level of safe participation for each student. After gathering a medical history with parental assistance, Trinity students and medical faculty conducted basic physicals. The check included height, weight, vision, hearing, blood pressure, pulse rate, and cardio-pulmonary chest examinations.
The Girls’ High School expressed its gratitude at having the checks conducted promptly upon request. Deputy Headmistress Caine-Soleyn acknowledged, “We take physical education seriously here, and this [medical readiness] is all part of it. These checks are important because we don’t want any medical incidents that could have been avoided. This check-up is integral to helping us to foresee and avoid future incidents.”
Dr. Frances Jack-Edwards, an MD as well as Trinity’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs, emphasized the importance of exercises like this for all involved. The girls are more confident in pushing themselves, and in some cases, underlying issues are discovered and treated appropriately. “We diagnosed two young women with asthma,” she said, “they had some wheezing and we were able to counsel them on therapeutic practices and how to use their medication before they get involved in any sort of activity. We also have follow-ups scheduled with them. We also caught a heart murmur and have redirected them to our frequent partner, The World Pediatric Project. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to participate due to this underlying condition, but we hope this will lead to a greater quality of life overall.”
Through outreaches like these, Trinity School of Medicine continues to affirm its belief in the importance in giving back to the community. Dr. Jack-Edwards continued, “It is important to give back to the community,” she affirmed, “We have many students from abroad in the US and Canada, but they are of St. Vincent when they are here. It is their community. These girls are our future generation and we embrace the opportunity to make a great impact when we counsel them. It’s really a good way of giving back and it’s great for our students to continue to refine patient interaction and basic examination skills alongside physicians from Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and Trinity’s faculty prior to their formal clinical rotations in Baltimore.”
Trinity fifth term student Jacob Pletz commented, “It was really great being able to work with the high school just to make sure that the girls are physically fit and ready for activity. It was nice to get and use the skills that we’ve learned over the past couple of years. At Milton Cato [ed. Trinity’s affiliated teaching hospital where students start in the first week of basic sciences], we’re already taught to show empathy and kindness to patients. As doctors, we won’t be seeing them on their best day, and they’ll probably be at least a little scared.” He continued, “If you don’t address that, the quality of the interaction will not be great. They typically react better with kindness. This leads to better outcomes for everyone. It’s part of treating patients, we’re taught that right away.”
At the conclusion of the day, the school’s headmistress, Mrs. Michelle Beache, addressed the team from Trinity them for their contributions, welcoming them back for 2019.