CONWAY — Representatives of Baystate Franklin Medical Center will be presenting their Blood and Guts program on Friday, April 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Conway Grammar School, 24 Fournier Road, Conway, as part of the hospital’s continuing educational outreach to children and families through Franklin County schools and libraries.
The program, originally planned for Feb. 26, was postponed due to a severe winter storm. The school’s parent-teacher organization will sponsor the event. Students, their families, and friends are invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.
Blood and Guts is a hands-on program in which participants visit 10 stations, each representing a different aspect of health care. Students can view germs, look at X-rays, pick up human bones, examine the effects of smoking, participate in an ‘operation,’ and complete many other fun learning activities.
“When we go to Conway, we’re going to be introducing lots of new elements with our exhibits,” said co-coordinator Sheri Thayer, clinical instructor for BFMC’s Radiology and Imaging Department. Thayer applied for and received a $2,000 grant from Children’s Miracle Network, with which she was able to purchase several new hands-on items and educational materials. “All the presenters gave me lists of items they would like to add to their exhibits, such as new blood-pressure cuffs, children’s activity books, a new heart model, stethoscopes, and blood-cell models. So we’re excited about being able to introduce them in Conway.”
Blood and Guts has been designed to give students a greater understanding of human anatomy, to lessen their fears about hospitals and health care, and to introduce them to the many career opportunities available in health care. It also encourages students to further explore the science resources available at their school library.
The program also provides participants with a chance to meet health care professionals — from surgery, radiology, laboratory, cardiopulmonary, rehabilitation, and nursing — and ask questions about health careers and education.
BFMC staff, with assistance from students at two local community colleges, have been running Blood and Guts programs for about seven years. Through their Building Bridges Community Partnerships Program, Greenfield Community College nursing students help set up exhibits and assist where needed at the various stations. Also helping with the program are Radiologic Technology students from Holyoke Community College, where Thayer is an instructor. “We couldn’t run these programs without the help of these enthusiastic students,” Thayer said. “They add a wonderful, fresh component to the program.”
“What is really fun about this ‘show’ is watching how totally involved everyone gets — from the children to their parents, to our own staff,” Thayer explained. “The parents get right in there with their kids on all the hands-on activities.”
For more information on the event, contact Heather Rose at (954) 650-0910. Representatives of schools and libraries in Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s service area who would like to host a Blood and Guts program should contact Thayer at (413) 773-2105.