Dr. Maribel Aurelio performs a hearing test on Janie Gosselin.

Forty-three students from Cayman International School now have a better idea of what the human body is all about.

A field trip to St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine on Feb. 10\ was part of the CIS Year 5 students’ lesson plan on learning about body systems.

At the university, the students heard a lecture on microorganisms by course director of histology Dr. Gerardo Ochoa-Vargas in the anatomy laboratory, and they participated in patient examinations with Dr. Maribel Aurelio in the clinic skills laboratory.

St. Matthew’s, founded in Belize in 1997 by North Dakota native Jeffrey S. Sersland and named for his friend Matthew Uhrich, moved to the Cayman Islands in 2002.

In Cayman, more than 109 students, including, seven Caymanians, currently attend the university.

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According to the St. Matthew’s website, the curriculum integrates basic and clinical science to give students an understanding of the human body in health and disease. This approach enables students to use their knowledge to treat patients and also to prevent disease and promote good health.

The St. Matthew’s professors leading the CIS school visit were joined by Dr. Anup Rao, who answered questions on the many plastinated body parts on exhibit in the anatomy room.

The students were fascinated to see what was being highlighted under the microscope during a presentation by Dr. Ochoa-Vargas, which focused on identifying cells. Getting the opportunity to observe human skin under magnification brought about some quick questions about human cells for Dr. Ochoa-Vargas, along with others, ranging from how cancer reproduces in the human body to what his favorite part of being a doctor was.

At the end of the lecture, Dr. Ochoa-Vargas offered some motivational tips, telling the students to never believe they cannot do anything.

“Open the mind and never allow anyone to tell you that you cannot learn, because you can; just analyze the thing. Don’t allow anybody to stop you,” he said.

At the clinical skills lab, the children were instructed by Dr. Aurelio on the importance of cleanliness and hand-washing in preventing the spread of germs and other diseases.

From Dr. Aurelio, the children also learned about various clinical instruments such as the stethoscope, a special tuning fork which is used to check hearing, the otoscope for the ears and ophthalmoscope for the eyes.

One Grade 5 student said he liked how the people there showed them what was going on inside the human body.

“I liked the digestive system best, and I thought their presentation style was very interesting,” he said.

Cayman International School instructional coach Leanne Wright said she was grateful for the professionalism at St. Matthew’s and for taking their time out of their busy day to show their students something they do not ordinarily get to see.

“The students were very impressed by the complexity and simplicity of the human body,” she said.

Ms. Wright said that afterward students could not keep quiet about the trip on the way back to school, and spoke highly of their visit as they discussed the day’s outing with their peers.

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