“I wanted to provide a service to students that opens their eyes to what career paths are out there and expose them to things that they don’t normally see,” said Dr. Lee. “This program is meant to get students interested and involved in the surgical or medical field and to give them a foundation to start their educational careers.”
Students engaged in activities similar to the experiences medical students have during their residencies. The program trained the students to develop basic suturing skills, laparoscopic surgical skills, da Vinci robotic skills, and endoscopic urological techniques. The students gained additional insight on urology because of Dr. Lee’s specialization and passion for the subject.
As the region’s only urologic oncologist, Dr. Lee is well aware of how uncommon urology is as a field of study. “I wanted to teach the students about urology because it isn’t an area that most people think about when choosing their medical career path,” said Dr. Lee. “I wanted to open the door to show them what this area of medicine is all about.”
The Surgical Outreach Program benefits the students in multiple ways. Not only does each student gain surgical knowledge, skills, and techniques, but they are also exposed to new possibilities that they may have never considered before.
“This program gives students the opportunity to be exposed to something new,” said Dr. Lee. “We want to show students what steps they need to take to have a career in this field, so they can make plans with their guidance counselors and make decisions about college.”
Beyond the educational purposes of the program, the main objective was for the students to enjoy themselves. “My priority was for the students to have fun,” said Dr. Lee. “When students have fun and get interested in something, that is when the passion grows.”
“Seeing and using the da Vinci surgical system has given me a new perspective on what medicine has for us,” said program participant Mark Bearden. “It’s not just drugs and pharmaceuticals, but the technology used to better the lives of patients.”
The Surgical Outreach Program is also something students will be able to use on their college applications. The magnitude of the program and the opportunities it could create are not lost on Mark. “Not many people get to do this type of program, especially at my age,” said Mark. “Even medical students don’t get this type of opportunity.”
Mark believes simply spending time with AdventHealth Gordon’s Robotic Surgery team was equally as important and beneficial as the skill set he learned during the program.
“Dr. Lee and his team are great,” said Mark. “They care a lot about their patients. To work with him and the da Vinci surgical system has been amazing.”