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North Hills

Pine-Richland students learn from 'SimMan'

| Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
Pine-Richland High School senior Charlotte Laubacher (left) participates in a simulation program with 2013 PRHS graduate Olivia Machionda.
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Pine-Richland High School senior Charlotte Laubacher (left) participates in a simulation program with 2013 PRHS graduate Olivia Machionda.

Pine-Richland High School students in the Anatomy, AP Biology and AP Chemistry classes got an upclose look at careers in pharmacy Jan. 4. This was not your ordinary presentation.

The University of Pittsburgh brought the experts who launched an interactive simulation that enabled students to work with a robotic patient. The patient is known as SimMan, a device that allows students to experience clinical scenarios. In this case, SimMan was having a heart attack. Students must diagnose and prescribe medication. SimMan actually blinks, perspires and seizes. Students even witnessed an allergic reaction to medication prescribed in the simulation. Prior to the simulation, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy experts provided a look at what career options students have if they complete the pharmaceutical program.

2013 PRHS graduate Olivia Marchionda, who is graduating from Pitt's Doctor of Pharmacy program in April and helped to create this particular simulation with another fellow Pitt student, Julie Mandel of New York, says she has been able to take the fast track through her studies at the University of Pittsburgh thanks to her high school courses. She was able to earn college credit through her AP courses.

“Pine-Richland School District prepared me well, particularly in math and sciences,” she said. “P-R will prepare students in any field.”

Teachers Kathy Thomas and Patti White, whose students attended the program, were encouraged by the presentation, because it provided students with an opportunity to explore other careers in the medical field beyond being a nurse or doctor.

Director of College and Career Counseling Jean Whalen was instrumental in bringing the program to PRHS.

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