Harvey’s heartbeat thumped through a speaker as a stethoscope lay on his bare chest. The patient simulator’s blue eyes stared up at the ceiling above his head.
Behind him, a small, silver key turned in an ignition slot, giving Harvey life.
"Everything in Harvey, by the way, is digital," Dr. Ira Gessner told a group of 15 undergraduates.
They were part of about 120 undergraduate students to meet inside the new, $46-million George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, located on Newell Drive. Sunday morning was the third annual Mini Medical School, said Sean Taasan, one of the event organizers and a first-year UF medical student.
The event, hosted by UF’s Equal Access Clinic Network, was designed to give students hands-on experience with UF’s medical program, Taasan said. For the first time, all 120 registration spots for Sunday filled up. Participants paid $28 for access. More than $2,300 was raised, all of which is going toward the network’s free clinics in Gainesville.
The 21-year-old said it’s important for pre-medical students to learn about how the medical field works, and they don’t get that experience in their general undergraduate science classes.
"We have lecturers who are (UF College of Medicine) faculty, and they’re talking about things that are directly related to medicine," he said.
UF biology freshman Brittany Fischer attended the event. She said after a family medical emergency, she considered a career in health care.
"My mother suffered from a stroke two years ago, so I’ve really been immersed in the field," the 18-year-old said. "I see the potential to make a difference in people’s lives through it."
The almost eight-hour program included a tour of the Harrell building and seminars taught by UF College of Medicine professors, like Dr. Gessner. The seminars held discussions on sports medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, women’s health and childbirth.
Dr. Robert Hatch, a community health and family medicine doctor, talked to the students about diagnosing injuries.
"Inspection is a really big part of medicine," he said.
Others showed students how to properly interact with patients and how to apply to medical schools.
During lunch, Taasan and other UF medical students sat at the front of Harrell’s lecture hall, answering questions from participants.
They spoke about balancing work, taking out loans for medical school and absorbing loads of information at once, likening it to drinking from a firehose. Taasan advised students to get enough sleep, even if it means taking naps.
"You do have to find ways to balance everything," Taasan said. "Sometimes you might fall asleep in class and your friend might take pictures of you."