Matters of the heart

Cardiologist Cicely Dye discusses the functions of a stress test to Lejeune High School students at the Cardiology STEM Event at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, Feb. 27.

As Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s (NMCCL) Heart Health Month came to a close, students from Lejeune High School (LHS) were given a chance to learn about health, technology and proper medical procedures, Feb. 27.

NMCCL hosted a Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) event centered around its cardiology department for students in Beverly Hassle’s advanced placement biology, anatomy and physiology classes.

The group of 24 students had the chance to use equipment such as EKG machines, echo stations and tilt tables commonly used by cardiologists. The anatomy students, who are currently studying the heart, had a chance to see their textbooks come to life.

“It’s interesting. Some people go their whole lives without seeing something like that,” said senior Jasmin Acosta. “Seeing the parts in real time is very different.”

Senior biology student George Vrachnos said seeing the equipment in person provided needed perspective.

“It gave us some more clarification and more detail,” Vrachnos said. “It’s good to see things in real time.”

NMCCL offered the tour to students as a way of reaching a younger demographic.

“This is the first cardio specific STEM event,” said NMCCL Assistant Public Affairs Officer Sarah Hauck. “It was a way for our cardiologists to reach a new demographic of middle and high school students. Often those age groups fall through the cracks in our education mission.”

“When we have our STEM events, it is aimed at showcasing a specific practice and helps students get an opportunity to see potential career paths. They are our future, and showing that there are resources in their own backyard is great,” said Hauck.

Hassle appreciated the invitation.

“The hospital reached out to us. … We’re so grateful to be here,” said Hassle. “I like being able to come in and learn passively with the kids. The stuff they have here is well above what we have at the school. It’s a great opportunity to see action outside the classroom.”

The subject of the simulated exams was

Hospitalman 3 Svaw Richter. He believes that events such as the STEM tour can help younger people learn more about taking care of themselves.

“It’s about bringing more awareness to their cardiovascular health. Cardio disease is the number one killer nationwide,” said Richter. “The trickledown effect of catching students young and hoping they’ll go on to show their kids is great for building awareness.”