Albert Rizzo, M.D., presents at Christiana Care's Mini-Medical School

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    Amy Pollack is interested in training to become a physician’s assistant.

    She tested the waters by attending Christiana Care’s Mini-Medical School, a free, six-week lecture series where adults—and even some teens—learn about important trends in health and medicine from top doctors in their fields.

    “These lectures have really heightened my awareness of serious health issues, like diabetes,” says Pollack of North Wilmington. “I also suggested that several relatives who have bad ankles consider checking out compression socks.”

    At Mini-Med School, there are no tests or grades, no stethoscopes or white coats. No previous medical training is required—just people who are eager to learn and enjoy the ability to ask doctors questions.

    Between 100 and 125 people registered for each lecture in the latest series, says Tracy Miller, program coordinator. Participants who attend all six sessions receive a certificate of achievement from sponsors Christiana Care and the Delaware Academy of Medicine.

    Joe Skwish, a wellness consultant from Wilmington, has attended three of the four years that Mini-Medical School has been offered. He gave up alcohol and caffeine after learning at a lecture that those substances can slow the healing process.

    “I’m a lifelong learner,” he says. “It keeps my brain cells active.”

    George Glackin and his wife Doris Davis-Glackin enjoy the Mini-Medical School lectures, as well as Christiana Care’s Celebrating Women's Health Lecture Series, educational presentations at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center. Their daughter, Beth Bradley, is a nurse at Christiana Care.

    “We are doing our best to stay healthy,” says Davis-Glackin, of West Chester, Pa. “Plus, the lectures are very interesting.” She is a borderline diabetic and was especially impressed by the presentation on diabetes by M. James Lenhard, M.D., medical director at Christiana Care’s Center for Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases.

    “It was wonderful having the opportunity to ask Dr. Lenhard questions,” she says. “I learned so much about the ways various medications work in treating diabetes.”

    Deloris Starling of Wilmington worked as a cardiology technician before she became a fashion designer. She is still keenly interested in health and wants to keep learning.

    Her favorite session was a lecture on shortness of breath presented by Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Christiana Care and Mini-Med program chair.

    “My mom has emphysema, so it was a topic near to my heart,” she says. “Even with my background in health care, there were things I did not know about shortness of breath until I took this class.”

    Starling attended all six sessions and is looking forward to learning more by sitting in on various grand rounds presentations at Christiana Care.

    “Mini-Med school has been a great experience for me and is a true benefit to the community,” she says.

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