CHS Grad Turned Medical School Student Comes Home to Inspire Students

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 From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. –  When he was a junior at Columbia High School (CHS), Marvens Jean was interested in becoming a doctor but had no idea what it would take.

“There was no one in my life who was in the medical world,” Jean said.

So he started a club – the CHS Pre-Med Club – with a couple of friends. They hoped to book doctors as guest speakers who would tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly about a career in medicine. Their first guest was a neurosurgeon whose daughter attended the high school.

Fast forward to last Friday afternoon at the CHS Pre-Med Club’s meeting. Jean was a guest speaker for the club he started. Wearing the white coat of a second-year medical student at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, he demonstrated how a surgeon closes an incision at the end of an operation.

“We’re going to try to pierce the skin at a 90-degree angle,” said the CHS Class of 2016 alumnus, his scissor-like needle driver in hand, to the more than 20 students gathered around him. He was working on a suture kit, piercing a fleshy sponge and not a person’s anatomy. Jean had brought enough kits for all of the students to try closing.

Earlier in the meeting, Jean used an interactive online program to lead the club members in a left knee replacement for a 76-year-old man.

Marvens Jean, a CHS alumnus and a second-year medical student, begins demonstrating how to close a surgical incision with a suture kit.

The procedure’s first step – writing the surgeon’s initials on the knee to be replaced to prevent “wrong site surgery” – presented a challenge for some.

“It’s the patient’s left, not your left,” Jean said to the club members.

Chasity Tedeschi, a CHS biology teacher who is the Pre-Med Club’s faculty advisor, said that Jean and his medical school classmate, Yaxel Levin-Carrion, have been coming to club meetings every month. Among the previous topics they discussed were the dangers of iron deficiency, sickle cell anemia, and how to get into medical school.

“It has been a tremendous benefit to our students to have a CHS graduate come back to share his experiences and knowledge,” Tedeschi said. “Not everybody in the club is going to medical school. Some want to be a nurse or are interested in becoming an EMT. But they all appreciate both medical students being here. And you can tell by the fact that they come to see them on a Friday afternoon instead of making a break for the weekend.”

Fehinti Dottin, a CHS senior and an aspiring doctor, said that it is “extremely useful” to have access to Jean and Levin-Carrion through the Pre-Med Club.

Marvens Jean, a CHS alumnus and a second-year medical student, answers a question from a Pre-Med Club member.

“Having them here, it can help you determine if you are interested in taking the path to medical school,” Dottin said.

After Jean graduated from CHS, he went to Lehigh University. Jean’s sister, Laurine graduated from CHS in 2017. His brother, Tedd, graduated in 2018 from a high school in Pennsylvania where his parents now live.

Jean has his sights on specializing in cardiothoracic surgery. His interest in the field is rooted in his experiences taking care of his grandmother who had diabetes and hypertension. As the eldest child, Jean would regularly take his grandmother’s blood pressure and check her blood sugar levels.

In the coming months, Jean will be taking the medical board exam. To prepare, he will need to spend his Friday afternoons in a study group. But he expects to return to the Pre-Med Club in May.

Pre-Med Club members practice surgical closing with suture kits.

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