MPN SPEAKS TO MEDICAL STUDENTS AT OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
WILLIAM BEAUMONT SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) conducts a regularly scheduled series of programs for their medical students called Lunch n’ Learn. These events are educational seminars held during a two hour break at which lunch is provided to the students who choose to attend while they listen to a speaker or speakers discussing medical topics. The November 2015 Lunch n’ Learn seminar was entitled “Caring For Unique Populations: The Case of Polio.”
Representing the Michigan Polio Network, Inc. (MPN) and the S.E. Michigan Post-Polio Support Group, Tim Brown and Bonnie Levitan, both polio survivors, were invited by OUWB to participate in this three part presentation. First, Daniel L. Menkes, M.D. introduced the students to Post-Polio Syndrome by showing slides and narrating a detailed description of Post-Polio Syndrome and related topics such as appropriate exercise, motor neuron damage and resulting symptoms, rehabilitation, medications diagnosis and treatment etc.
Doctor Menkes is the Chair of Neurology at The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and he is the Chief of Neurology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Additionally, Dr. Menkes is board certified in neurology and he treats only nerve and muscle diseases. He was extremely well informed about polio and his presentation was clear, concise and could be understood by both laymen and medical personnel. He adeptly used some humor while educating the students and his style of presentation was very compelling and informative. Additionally, he had a personal vested interest in
the issue of polio, as his uncle currently suffers from Post-Polio Syndrome.
The second part of the presentation was a video recording of a previously televised program in which Tim and Bonnie had been interviewed about polio and post-polio issues. The program was entitled "Aging Well in America." Upon completion of the video, the seminar transitioned into the third part which was a question and answer period. The students were encouraged to ask Tim and Bonnie questions relating to either their personal history with polio or their experiences with health care professionals and related care. It was obvious that the students were very interested and were surprised to learn what care was like back in the 1950's. For example, they were in awe to learn that parents were only allowed to visit their hospitalized polio-stricken children on a very limited basis. As it neared the end of the allotted time for the presentation, it appeared the students were still anxious to hear more as they continued to be very attentive.
When the class was dismissed, quite a few students came down to talk with both Tim and Bonnie. They seemed very genuine when they all expressed their thanks and stated they found it extremely interesting and further most of them said it really opened their eyes to the issue of polio. Interestingly, several of them had family members who had had polio and they were especially grateful for the presentation and learning experience. One student, in particular, expressed an interest in pursuing a study aimed at anesthesiologists to determine how much knowledge they had regarding polio issues. As representatives of MPN and polio survivors in general, Tim and Bonnie found the event to be a most rewarding experience, and it appeared that it had been very well received by all of the students in attendance. They agreed that it had been exciting for them to see so many young future physicians showing a genuine interest in polio issues, and it was gratifying to have a major hospital system give such importance to the topic. MPN has recently focused attention on efforts to increase awareness in the medical community of the effects of polio on ageing polio survivors.