Students get hands-on medical education at Naval Hospital Jax

11 high schoolers from Darnell-Cookman participate in annual S2M2 program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – School may be out, but a handful of Duval County students are still in class.

The Naval Hospital Jacksonville is hosting its annual Science, Service, Medicine and Mentoring (S2M2) program this week with 11 high school students from Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts this week. 

The students are engaging in hands-on clinical rotations and learning what it means to care for the nation's heroes as part of the weeklong summer internship offered by the hospital on the Naval Air Station Jacksonville base. 

"It's more interactive and hands-on. You actually get the experience you don't get in a classroom," said Cassidy Munusami, who will be starting 10th grade at Darnell-Cookman this fall. "It's pretty cool. Like, yesterday, we got to go and see a live surgery."

Munusami, who told News4Jax on Tuesday that she wants to be a pediatric cardiac surgeon, and 10 other classmates are already gaining experience in the medical field.

"We even go to see some of the patients and see the professionals in action," said Christian Corpus, a rising 11th grader. 

Captain David Collins, the hospital's commanding officer, said the program gives students a unique type of exposure into different career opportunities. 

"One, to orient them to the Navy, but also in the field of health care," Collins said. "And if that interests them, and at one point, they come back and want to join the Navy and be a doctor or nurse in the Navy, that's a win -- a great thing for the community, the Navy and them."

Currently, Collins said, there is a need for medical professionals in the Navy.

Nearly 60 students have gone through the program since 2010, learning about the medical field and participating in clinical rotations, including the operating room, physical therapy, orthopedics and simulation lab.