Cleveland middle-schoolers to experience hands-on science, technology and dentistry

This weekend, middle-school students will treat simulated patients at the Case Western Reserve University dental school.

About 40 seventh- and eighth-graders in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program have enrolled in a one-day camp to harness their interest in the sciences and put them on a path toward further STEM-related education and careers.

The camp, offered within the U.S. Military Academy’s West Point Urban Leadership Initiative Program, will take place Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

The event builds on the STEM education that Cleveland students receive at Mound, Michael R. White, Orchard, Hannah Gibbons and George Washington Carver schools and the Kenneth Clement Boys Leadership Academy.

“We want to get students into the pipeline,” said Cynthia Clark, executive director of Health Legacy of Cleveland, which raises money for scholarships for minorities to pursue medical and dental careers.

Andre Mickel, chair of the endodontic department at Case Western Reserve’s dental school and Health Legacy’s president, will lead students on a tour of the dental school, where they will work on simulated patients that even say “ouch” when the student misses.

West Point and Case Western University teamed up because Army graduates can qualify for military aid to attend medical or dental school.

Health Legacy’s goal is to have local students pursue careers in medicine and dentistry and return to Cleveland to help combat the lack of access to health care in the city.