March 06, 2017

Media Advisory – Physician Assistant Program Doll Clinic

Forty first-year students in the SIU School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program will examine different types of patients on Wednesday, March 8.

In collaboration with SIU Carbondale’s Head Start program, the students will examine stuffed animals and dolls brought in by 156 children, ages 3 to 5, who attend the Carbondale Head Start Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave.

Reporters, photographers and news crews are invited. Head Start and Physician Assistant personnel will be available for interviews. The clinic runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the optimal time for interviews will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

This is the fifth annual “Doll Clinic,” which provides important experience for physician assistant students and the children. Each doll and stuffed animal will receive a complete physical exam and likely a shot and bandage. The children also get a book and health-related gift bag.

Molly Johnson, an assistant professor in family and community medicine who oversees the clinic, said this allows students to interact with young children in a way they might not normally get to while in the program.

“It helps students learn about how children can process a scary or painful experience through play, and is an opportunity for students to see how they do that. It has been really wonderful experience,” Johnson said.

Students also come up with teaching plans for small groups of children in areas including dental care, exercise and eating habits in the way a young child can experience, she said.

Head Start Program Director Lea Maue said the advantage for children who bring in dolls and stuffed animals as patients is they realize first-hand that future visits to a doctor are less scary.

“They get to look at it from an outside perspective in a really positive way,” Maue said.

For more information, contact Johnson at 618/453-8850 or Maue at 618/453-7171.