BOSTON (CBS) – A big boost for a unique, and very cool, education program in Boston. Massachusetts’ First Lady Lauren Baker cut the ribbon for a new simulation lab at the Harvard Medical School where high school students gets hands on biology experience.

The new innovation will allow the program to double the number of students it serves. On Wednesday, WBZ got an inside look at how that program works. It’s all about providing a truly out of the classroom experience while encouraging students to explore STEM careers, science, technology, math and medicine.

It takes place in what looks like an emergency room. Eleven high school students from Boston Latin are at the Harvard Med School participating in a hands on program called HMS Medscience. “HMS Medscience is a program that inspires the next generation of scientists,” says Julie Joyal, the Executive Director of the program.

High school students at HMS Medscience simulation lab (WBZ-TV)

It’s a collaboration between Harvard Med and the Boston Public Schools. “We teach critical thinking, teamwork, communications skills. These are the skills that universities want and that employers want,” Joyal says.

Each week students experience a new emergency case, like a heart attack. “You don’t know what patient is going to be there. You don’t know what they’re going to have,” says student Max Morales.

“It does seem very real,” adds Milca Pierre, another student.

On Wednesday they met “Samantha,” a sixteen-year-old in pain. Samantha is really a mannequin with someone in another room giving her a voice. A monitor shows her vital signs.

At first “Samantha” denies using any drugs or alcohol, but later says that due to a sports injury her doctor gave her “blue pills.” The students grow suspicious, and then a drug test confirms she’s been abusing opiates.

Students get hands on experience at HMS Medscience simulation lab (WBZ-TV)

Then things take a bad turn as Samantha crashes. The students reach for the Narcan to revive her.

“It is so stressful because you have everyone yelling at you and you don’t know what to do sometimes,” says student Kwang Wu.

The program encourages the students to consider the field of science. “I’m very interested in STEM. I like math, biology and chemistry, especially,” Milca says.

“I’m really leaning towards some neuropsychology,” says Max.

“I’ve always dreamed of becoming a cardiologist,” adds Kwang.

The program has worked with high school students for 10 years.


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