In a year when the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) is observing the 50th anniversary of its founding, one of the school’s most beloved outreach programs is also celebrating a milestone. WVSOM’s Just Say KNOW educational camp is now in its 10th year.
Just Say KNOW was established in 2013 and is designed to introduce 9th- through 12th-graders and recent high school graduates to science – and medicine-related concepts. The event has had different focuses during its history, such as Just Say KNOW to Anatomy and Just Say KNOW to Neuroscience – but the 2022 camp will return to its initial theme of Just Say KNOW to Drugs, with participants learning about pharmacology.
Crystal Boudreaux, Ph.D., a WVSOM biomedical sciences faculty member who serves as director of Just Say KNOW, said pharmacology – the branch of medicine centered on how medications interact with the body – represents an essential part of learning about health care.
“In celebration of the program’s 10th anniversary, we wanted to bring it back to how it was originally conceived,” Boudreaux said. “Pharmacology integrates several scientific disciplines, and discovering how those disciplines work together aids in the understanding of positive treatment goals.”
Just Say KNOW is built on hands-on activities and games in addition to brief lectures, discussions and quizzes. This year’s activities will also include osteopathic manipulative treatment demonstrations and a tour of WVSOM’s Fredric W. Smith Science Building.
Boudreaux said the program is designed to nurture an interest in health care among young people. Past camps have drawn virtual participants from as far away as Colorado, along with on-campus participants from Greenbrier County and other areas of West Virginia.
“Just Say KNOW showcases WVSOM and osteopathic medicine to high school students who are already thinking about their career paths. With this year’s camp presented as a hybrid learning experience, we hope to again have campers from across the U.S. as well as in person,” she said.
Karen Wines, a biomedical sciences faculty member who co-directs the program, explained that the camp is taught by WVSOM students with assistance from undergraduate interns.
“The student interns are a vital component of the program’s success. While the theme and curricula are overseen by faculty advisors, the content is developed and delivered by medical students,” Wines said. “Having WVSOM students and undergraduate interns present content provides a more relatable and engaging experience for participants.”
On-campus registration is limited to 20 students, and those attending in person must wear face masks. Virtual attendees will need an internet connection to participate and will receive a Webex link about one week before the program begins.
Just Say KNOW to Drugs is sponsored by the WVSOM Rural Health Initiative and the WVSOM Foundation.
The camp will take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 13-17, and can be attended virtually or in person on the WVSOM campus in Lewisburg. Students must register by submitting a brief essay about their interest in the program along with a teacher recommendation. The materials should be submitted to email@example.com by May 15.