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2022 Mini Medical School encourages active participation in health

Terry RogersHealth

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Whether you’d like to know more about sports medicine, the growth of telehealth or how anesthesiology works, you’ll find a topic of interest in an online Mini Medical School that includes healthcare topics and trends.

“What’s exciting about the program and the offerings is the whole wide swath that can give people a taste of the medical profession,” Dr. Bradley Sandella.

The classes are sponsored by ChristianaCare and the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association.

The programs are free and designed to help people learn  more about healthcare and maybe even determine if a medical career is right for them.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

Dr. Bradley Sandella

Today’s 7 p.m. class will be on breast reconstruction and the plastic surgery involved. After that, each Thursday in March will feature another topic at the same time: sports medicine, the growth of telehealth, anesthesiology and childhood development.

Sandella pointed out that healthcare providers encourage patients to be active participants in their own care, and the Mini Medical School provides them with knowledge and confidence to ask questions of both the presenters and their own healthcare providers.

“It is a really unique opportunity for the general public to interface with clinical expertise, and in a totally non-individual way so they can learn and have a conversation,” said Tim Gibbs, executive director of the Academy/DPHA. “They are not there to get a shot or hear good news, or even bad news. This is a happy and reaffirming experience.”

The ages in the classes range from middle school students to octogenarians with some of the younger attendees actually choosing to enter a career in the medical field, Gibbs said.

When Gibbs’ organization was simply known as the Delaware Academy of Medicine in the 1970s, these types of schools were popping up everywhere with a goal to expose students of all ages to the practice of medicine and give them a taste of what medical school was like.

“Then it evolved into an idea of really focusing on and giving them the perspective of what a career in the health sciences, broadly speaking, medicine and dentistry, in particular, might look like for them,” Gibbs said.

That helps people decide what they might — and might not — want to do.

“There’s a learning opportunity there for learners of all ages to say, ‘Yeah, this is for me,’ or ‘Oh, no, I stuck my toe in the water but this is not what I wanted.’”

a man wearing a suit and tie

Tim Gibbs

Gibbs explained that the Mini Medical Schools went dormant in Delaware until 2009 when one was offered in New Castle and then at the University of Delaware Virden Center. The COVID-19 pandemic sent the 2022 program 100% online.

The Zoom classes open at 6:55 with a lecture starting at 7 p.m. Questions begin at 8:45 p.m, and the class is adjourned at 9 p.m.

Sandella said the Mini Medical School can be beneficial for those facing medical treatments. They can come away better understanding what the treatments entail, whether it is surgery with anesthesia or physical therapies.

“In my conversations on sports medicine, I try to educate individuals that we are all athletes,” Sandella said. “You don’t have to necessarily play football or soccer. You may just be trying to keep up with your grandchildren. This is a form of educating people on how to stay physically active as well as encouraged to take control of their own health.”

Although the spring program ends this month, Gibbs said there is talk of expanding the program in the future.

The state of Delaware doesn’t have a medical school.

Sandella said that means the medical system holds the responsibility to help encourage the next generation of learners in healthcare and help foster love for the field and a  higher level of knowledge about it.

“This is an opportunity for us to share and give back to the community,” he said. ” Because we know we are giving back, we’re also bringing on the next group of individuals that will take care of the State of Delaware and continue to push the boundaries of medicine and what we can offer, so this is a great opportunity.”

To learn more about the learn more about the Mini Medical School or to register for classes, go to


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