LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS)– The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine celebrates the 10th anniversary of its educational high school program, Just Say KNOW educational camp for ninth through 12th-graders, which was originally launched in 2013 with the theme of “Just Say KNOW to Drugs.”

This was a week-long program, which took place from June 13th-17th and primarily focused on pharmacology, and how drugs act and perform on the body. The themes started to become more anatomy and neuroscience-based with theme names included such as Just Say KNOW to Anatomy and Just Say KNOW to Neuroscience.

Medical student interns Patrick Votel and Madison Robinson led this year’s camp, along with help from alumni interns Lexie Mizia and Hunter Wamsley and with more direction from biomedical sciences faculty members Crystal Boudreaux, Ph.D., and Karen Wines, M.S.

A camper, Faith Ketron, from Shady Spring, has participated in Just Say KNOW for four years and has a huge passion for healthcare, and wants to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.

Also a first-timer of the camp, Maxton Lopez of Oak Hill loved the camp and wants to participate again.

“I loved all the people I got to meet and the things I got to see. I learned about opioids and other kinds of drugs and what each of them do inside your body. In the anatomy lab, we got to see the brain, lungs, kidneys, and other organs, which was amazing. You’re not just constantly hearing lectures; you get to do different kinds of activities, so it’s fun,” Lopez ecstatically explained.

On the opening day of camp, students went on a tour of WVSOM’s research facilities and listened to an introduction to pharmacology, as well as an informative lecture on the history of opioids and how they affect the human body, along with other concepts of drug activity in the body and how they can be administered. and a lecture on the history and mechanisms of opioids.

The campers also go to do activities such as tie-dying, and played cornhole, which all tied into the theme of pharmaceuticals and the effects on the human body.

The second day of camp, students were engaged in lectures about antibiotics and how they treat infections, and to help them have a better understanding, the students built models from Lego pieces displaying the use of antibiotics on cells in the body.

The third day of camp consisted of students visiting the medical school’s Clinical Evaluation Center, where the students viewed WVSOM’s human-patient simulators, learned how to medically stop a bleed in an emergency, and even participated in a virtual reality medical simulation where they viewed a demonstration of moulage, which is a medical technique used to mimic the appearance of injuries, which are lifesaving.

following lectures on the fourth day included information on antibodies treating COVID-19 and how medications called SSRIs work, in which they reenacted in a game of tag.

During the camp week, campers had the choice to research the medicine of their choice to prepare a presentation which is live-streamed to families and friends and to members of the West Virginia School of Medicine, which was presented on the final day of camp.

“It exposes them to scientific ideas that are more advanced than they’re going to get in high school, and it opens their eyes to how diverse the world of medicine is and how those things can be used to help people in their communities. The idea is to open them up to possible careers they might be interested in. We teach from a position of medicine, but we also expose them to concepts involved in fields such as research, nursing, and community service,” medical student intern Patrick Votel explained when explaining the camp’s purpose, which is to nurture an interest in the sciences and medicine at a young age.

The initiative is to keep young people informed, but also express an interest in healthcare and medicine to those choosing that career path.