Students spend a weekend at FCM Camp Med

Lauren Alparaz, Staff Writer

From April 4–6, 20 Clark students participated in Family Community Medical Camp Med at the Boys’ Camp in Griffith Park. The name of the camp implies its purpose; however, the simple title doesn’t do the experience justice. “Of course I expected to learn about the medical field, but the experience was more than that,” said sophomore Jared Ortaliza. “Counselors gave us a real idea of college and doubts that I had about camp disappeared when I finally met them.”

Pre-Med club advisor Diana McGrath was made responsible for organizing students for FCM Camp Med after UCLA contacted Assistant Principal Maurice James about having Clark be a part of the program. The program was meant for Title I schools, schools with large numbers of students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. In addition to students from Clark, only LAUSD’s Birmingham High School also attended.

Representatives from FCM Camp Med did a presentation at lunch for Pre-Med Club, which ended up stimulating interest in the program. The 20 students who were selected for the program had to fundraise money through selling Domino cards, making the three-day experience free of charge.

Before students were were taught the essentials of basic medicine, they got to know each other through a talent show on Friday night. Doctors from different fields of medicine also spoke about the future of medicine. A Ph.D. student, pediatrician, dentist, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, among others answered questions and spoke about their professions.

Besides the medical side of the camp, students played camp games, participated in a dance and talent show. At the end of the the day, students were able to get some rest in the cabins. Students were organized in “families” with two head counselors who are currently students in the UCLA medical program.

Students had the opportunity to learn basic medical skills, which included taking vitals, taking blood pressure with an emergency medical technician, suturing, doing CPR and making dental impressions. McGrath said she is planning on organizing another session of FCM Camp Med next year based on student interest.