On August 3, Dr. David Samadi, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, welcomed 130 academically outstanding high school students to witness a live robotic prostatectomy procedure. National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF/MED) invited Dr. Samadi to be part of their ten-day residential program for exceptional high school students in the greater tri-statearea. As a leading urologist in New York and an expert in prostate cancer treatment and robotic surgery procedures, Dr. Samadi’s live surgery was a great draw to students participating in the program.
National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine provides sophomore, junior and senior high school students who excel in science and math, typically with a 3.0 GPA in these subjects, an opportunity to experience healthcare first hand. In addition to their outstanding academic record, students are selected for the program based on nominations and/or recommendations from teachers or past program participants, as well as their interest in the medical field. The tuition and scholarship-based program has an 18-year history in cities throughout the United States, giving students access to experts from the nation’s top medical centers. “This is an amazing national program,” commends Dr. Samadi, “and I am truly honored to be part of its inaugural year in New York. The opportunity to introduce some of our area’s brightest high school students to a profession I hold so dearly was very exciting. I see this program giving a great boost to medical schools in our area. The more excited students are about healthcare, the more great minds we have entering our institutions.”
Once at the program, students chose from a range of medical “experiences.” Among those offered during this session were a chiropractic health center, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Siamec, a mobile medical patient simulation center, and Dr. Samadi’s robotic surgery. Maureen Carnakie-Baker, Regional Manager for NYLF/MED, shared that Dr. Samadi’s experience “ranked very high; live surgery is always a hit.”
The students attended the 7:00 am live surgery, witnessing the event via closed circuit TV at a Mount Sinai Medical Center education facility. Immediately following the surgery Dr. Samadi joined the students for a question and answer session. Students had the opportunity to ask Dr. Samadi directly about the specifics of the procedure ranging from the limited blood loss, to patient recovery time, to the amount of training required in order to perform such procedures. “Seeing the students’ enthusiasm and hearing their insightful questions was a great thrill. I love when people are as excited about robotic surgery as I am.”
Carnakie-Baker pursued Dr. Samadi after learning of his vast experience in robotic prostatectomy procedures and witnessing his charismatic nature on Fox 5 Good Day NY. Carnakie-Baker selected Dr. Samadi as a top urologist in his field and was very happy when he agreed to perform the live surgery. “To get people as engaging as Dr. Samadi is a wonderful thing all the way around. The students get to hear from someone who wants to give back and wants to mentor,” said Carnakie-Baker.
Carnakie-Baker believes Dr. Samadi’s live robotic prostatectomy program was a huge success. “It was fantastic. The students were really, really engaged. Dr. Samadi really understands his target audience and how to talk to them. He’s very knowledgeable and is a great mentor.” The students themselves had rave reviews with many citing the live surgery as the highlight of their week. “Witnessing the surgery was awesome,” said one student, “this is the reason I came.” Beyond the students, the program leaders also enjoyed the surgery. Many are first-year medical students who also witnessed their first live surgery.
Roughly 30 percent of the students who participate in the program nationwide go on to be a part of the healthcare field in some way, estimates Carnakie-Baker. Many even return as faculty for the program. The NYLF/MED looks forward to working with Dr. Samadi in the future. “I would love to continue this relationship. He is a winner for our students,” said Carnakie-Baker. Dr. Samadi agrees about his future with the program. “I see my participation in this program as a significant step toward engaging youth in the future of medicine. Our country’s healthcare success depends on the enthusiasm and bright minds of students like those I met this week.”News