Even at age 60, Brenda Cormier is looking forward to med school.
The former biology teacher and lab worker has been taking full advantage of classes she took earlier at Medical College of Georgia Mini-Medical School, which is beginning enrollment for the spring session that starts next month. The Tuesday evening seminars are a chance for the general public to come on campus and see the kinds of things students learn at MCG, said founder and course director Alan Roberts.
"It's a way of showing, demonstrating and letting people do what our medical students learn to do," Dr. Roberts said.
The courses began more than a decade ago at the University of Colorado as a way to reach out to the community and are now offered at more than 70 schools, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Science Education. MCG has been holding them for about three years, and Mrs. Cormier said she hasn't missed many of them.
"They discussed things that I wasn't aware I was interested in, like cystic fibrosis, other chronic diseases that I wasn't aware of the intricacies of them," she said. "It was fascinating, hearing about dealing with them."
One of this session's twists is a hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, class with mannequins the students can take home to practice on and use to teach others, Dr. Roberts said.
"(We) didn't really have a way of doing hands-on without having the people come up one at a time and work on the mannequin, so this is perfect for that," he said.
About 330,000 people - more than 900 a day - die of a sudden cardiac arrest, and 80 percent of those happen at home, according to the American Heart Association. Of those involved in out-of-hospital events, only 5 percent survive, the group said. CPR can double the survival rate.
"I really think it's important, and it will improve survival hopefully," Dr. Roberts said.
The national average response time to a heart attack is nine minutes, and the chance of survival decreases 10 percent for every minute the person is down, said Pamela Rosema, an instructor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at MCG, who teaches the course.
"If a layperson doesn't start CPR, the odds of saving them is almost zero," she said. "So what we have to do is we have to educate the lay public, get them to recognize the symptoms early, and then we need to train them to do CPR."
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOIN THE CLASS
The Medical College of Georgia is beginning enrollment for its Mini-Medical School's spring session.
Among the topics this year will be reproductive endocrinology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, rehabilitation after stroke, organ donation, Parkinson's disease and sleep disorders.
The Tuesday evening classes will begin Feb. 20 and run through March 27. The course costs $50 for an individual and $75 for a family.
For more information, call (706) 721-3967 or (800) 221-6437. You can also register online at: www.mcg.edu/ce.