LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Capturing Young Minds

Follow Us


Imagine jumping into a virtual scenario where it's up to you to save a life. The patient has stopped breathing and flatlines. "Asystole!" Defibrillator paddles are thrust into your hands, as you lean into the table, calling out, "Clear!" But you're not sitting in front of your computer playing a video game– you're in an operating room in one of the most sophisticated medical simulation learning laboratories in the world. And you're only 14 years old.

That's exactly where thousands of talented and gifted Louisiana high school students find themselves each year. Louisiana's flagship academic health center is home to 30,000 sq. ft. of new-era simulation technology and is a pioneer in simulation-based medical education and training. It's a resource that you wouldn't think adolescents would ever see, much less get their hands on. But LSU Health New Orleans opens its doors to discovery to students and their teachers to spark or fan the flame of interest in health and science careers, and in preparing for them and pursuing them here in Louisiana.

A typical visit may start in the Clinical Skills Lab where, listening through stethoscopes, the students learn how to distinguish between normal and abnormal heart and lung sounds. This is the same curriculum taught to first-year medical students. From there, the students might move to the Demonstration Lab where they'll compete to see who can master the laparoscopic surgical skills trainer the fastest without dropping anything into the surgical site.

Media Contact

Leslie Capo

Office: 504-568-4806

Cell: 504-452-9166


Learning Center

Isidore Cohn, Jr. MD Student Learning Center

Then it's off to a genetics research lab, where the students conduct experiments isolating cancer chromosomes and fixing them to slides to examine them under a microscope. Sometimes they make DNA gels to provide forensic data for a "crime scene investigation." Or, under ultraviolet light, see just how many micro-organisms live on their skin – even after washing their hands.

They visit research and core laboratories to learn more about how research is conducted and the technological advances that drive the speed of science.

high school students

They meet and interact with world-renowned scientists, leaders in their disciplines, whose discoveries are making a difference in science and in people's lives. The scientists explain their research projects, what questions they're answering and how that knowledge will be used. They describe Eureka moments and the satisfaction that their work has improved the quality of life. They talk to these budding scientists about opportunities in their fields and answer their questions.

The students also have the opportunity to get a taste of student life from LSU Health New Orleans students, as well as how to prepare through high school and college.

It's pipeline outreach that is having an impact.

One student reflected, "Overall it was a great learning experience that really got me thinking about my future and the career and educational goals I would like to achieve, and above all, it was pretty fun."

Another expressed surprise that a Louisiana university is a national leader in technological innovation and simulation-based medical education and was grateful to know that the best is available right here at home.

LSU Health New Orleans faculty, students, and staff pull out all the stops to capture and inspire these bright young minds. After all, these students will be the doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, audiologists, or other health care professionals who will take care of our families, and yours. Or discover the cure for cancer or another devastating disease. So hearing "See you in 7 years," on the way out is just what the doctor ordered.