NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. – Police Chief Tim Wiley is doing more than keeping the city of New Baltimore safe, he's leaving his mark when it comes to education.
"A lot of it started because my son, who was in 8th grade at the time, had a strong interest in pursuing a career in the medical field," Wiley said. "There are so few avenues for kids to explore the field and I wanted to make sure I could help."
The program is called "Future Doc's Regional Youth Medical Leadership Program," and it's aimed to give students real-world exposure to the medical field before their college years. With the help of some of Michigan State University's best, Wiley made this program a reality.
"It took about 2 years to develop, but with MSU involved it was such a huge success that MSU wanted to fully run the program," said Wiley.
Wiley teamed up with Anne Snyder, the community relations and admissions counselor for the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
"Our medical partners do this free of cost and to make it worth it, we make sure the students involved have a sincere interest in the field," Wiley said. "There is a real connection between the doctors and students and most rewarding has to be the mentoring opportunities from the 1st year med students at MSU, it's the super glue of the program."
The program, now in its 2nd year, is open to middle and high school students from Wayne, Oakland Macomb County schools, with a 3.5 or above grade point average. This year there were 400 applicants, and only 30 kids admitted.
"That speaks volumes of the competiveness and the need for a program like this," Wiley said.
The students will meet for eight Saturday sessions that will take them to various facilities so that they can witness the work physicians and medical professionals perform every day. Wiley said the program was designed for students to have the opportunity to observe, ask questions, and determine where they might fit into the medical field.
Included in the Future Doc's program was a tour of the Macomb County medical examiner's office. Hosted by Dr. Spitz, the students learned about the forensic sciences from the Macomb County medical examiner and members of the forensic nurse examiners group.
Students will also visit Medstar Ambulance, where they will learn about emergency medical care, and McLaren Macomb and Henry Ford Health systems, where they will learn about the role of physicians in a hospital setting. They will also go to Lakeshore ENT, Fraser Eye care center, and St. John-Providence Hospital to tour the "Da Vinci" surgical robot. Students will have the opportunity to be mentored with a current MSU college of Osteopathic Medicine medical student.
"I hope these kids get a real perspective of what it takes to become a physician and will only enrich their education," Wiley said.