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Mini Medical School

SurgeonsThe Mini Medical School at Lehigh Valley Health Network is an annual community program that offers you a chance to gain in-depth, current medical knowledge from experts.

As a teaching organization, Lehigh Valley Health Network includes education as part of its mission, and our doctors and other medical staff members serve as the Mini Medical School faculty. They educate you — in layman's terms — about diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive topics in clinical medicine and scientific research.

Our annual four-week, interactive educational series is for high school students and lifelong learners with an inquiring mind. A medical or scientific background is not needed and you won't have to write a paper or take a final exam. Although you won't graduate with a medical degree, you will learn about the medical techniques being used by our own surgeons. You'll even have a chance to review actual case studies, test your surgical skills in our Surgery Education Center and participate in extracurricular events.

Tuition is free. 

Registration is at capacity and has closed.

April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
6:30 - 8 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest Auditorium
Registration opens on Feb. 24.

Program advisor: Michael Pasquale, MD, chair, department of surgery

Course schedule

Session 1: April 1
Making Every Breath Count
When people have trouble breathing due to injury, illness or disease, ventilators help push air into the lungs. But if the pressure gets too great, permanent damage can result. In these tricky cases, doctors can turn to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to add critical oxygen into the bloodstream and allow lungs to heal. ECMO has been used for years to help newborns. Learn how this process works, and how recent advances have made ECMO safer for adults.
Speaker: James Wu, MD, cardiothoracic surgery

Session 2: April 8
The Heart of Amazing
Despite increased awareness of preventive steps like exercise and healthier eating, every year about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. Now there’s hope for the most complex heart cases. Discover how amazing advances such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) are helping patients who can’t have traditional “open-heart” surgery. You’ll also learn about other leading-edge treatments including a remarkable heart pump that improves and prolongs quality of life for patients in late stages of heart failure.
Speakers:
Hari Joshi, MD, cardiology
Ronald Freudenberger, MD, chief, division of cardiology

Session 3: April 15
So I Need a Transplant. Now What? 
Ever wonder what it feels like to wait for a kidney or lung transplant? Want to better understand how donors and recipients are matched up and what takes place during surgery? Here’s your chance to get those answers and much more as you follow a transplant journey from start to finish. You’ll learn about this medical miracle from patients and members of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Transplant Center team, which recently performed its 900th transplant operation.
Speakers:
Lynsey Biondi, MD, general surgery, transplant surgery
Michael Moritz, MD, transplant surgery, vice chair, department of surgery – operations and clinical affairs

Session 4: April 22
Ganging Up on Cancer
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for patients and their families. Given all the surgical, radiation and medical oncology treatment options, coordinating care also can be a challenge for clinicians. That’s why Lehigh Valley Health Network embraces a multidisciplinary clinic (MDC) approach to cancer care that enables patients to see a range of specialists under one roof. This forward-thinking care model offers more than convenience. Our speakers will explain how MDC also leads to better patient experiences and treatment outcomes.
Speakers:
Lori Alfonse, DO, surgical oncology
Angelo Baccala Jr., MD, chief, division of urology

Session 5: April 29
Right on Target
When it comes to treating brain tumors and lesions, every millimeter matters. That’s why surgeons at LVHN rely on the extreme precision of Gamma Knife Perfexion®. Perfexion is not actually a knife. Instead, it delivers focused radiation beams to selected targets in the brain as well as the sinuses, eye sockets, and upper spine and neck. Learn how this innovative system allows surgeons to treat more – and harder to reach – areas while offering patients less risk for complications and side effects.
Speakers:
Alyson McIntosh, MD, radiation oncology
Mei Wong, MD, neurological surgery

Learn about last year's Mini Medical School curriculum.

This is not an accredited course or associated with the University of South Florida.

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