Students learn about health sciences at Abrazo Central

Dec 5, 2018

Hospital lab staff teaches microbiology lessons for local eighth graders

lab groupPHOENIX (Dec. 5, 2018) – When she learned about an educational opportunity with STEAM students at Desert Mirage Elementary School, hospital Laboratory Director Michelle Martin couldn’t pass it up. Martin, who works in the lab at Abrazo Central Campus, arranged for her staff to visit the classroom and for students to visit the hospital lab.

STEAM students study Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math to build a strong foundation for academics. The eighth grade STEAM curriculum at Desert Mirage Elementary focuses on medicine and health. The school is part of the Pendergast School District in Glendale.

Abrazo Central Campus Microbiology Manager Jessica Brown and Lead Med Tech Michelle Dent visited the classroom three times over three weeks in October and November to teach about things like microbes in the human body, hand hygiene and how antibiotics work.

During the first week, Brown and Dent explained basic microbiology terms, and talked about flu and other communicable diseases. To show how germs multiply, hand and cheek swabs from a few of the students were put on plates to incubate. Swabs were also obtained from common surfaces to show how easily germs can be passed from most surfaces.

A week later, they returned with the plates showing what organisms grew and talked about “good” and “bad” bacteria. For week three, students saw how the organisms behaved with antibiotic treatment and were able to view stained slides of common bacteria on microscopes.

Week four was a field trip to the laboratory at Abrazo Central Campus. Students were able to meet staff, ask questions and learn about the hospital’s lab equipment and functions.

“The students enjoyed the microbiology lessons the Abrazo team brought to our classroom. The experience of seeing plates of bacteria, bacteria from items they themselves swabbed and the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics along with a tour of a real-world hospital laboratory was very educational for the students. They also learned of the various laboratory departments and career opportunities,” said Janet Mehta, Desert Mirage 6-8 Grade STEAM Science Teacher with the Health, Medical and Forensic Academy.

“The students came to our lab for a tour and information session on the clinical laboratory in general. The kids had a ball!” said Martin. “Hospital administration was very supportive of this community outreach, and we were happy to talk to the students about the sciences and careers in healthcare.”

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