'Saturday Morning Medicine'
Cook Children's doctor leads mentorship program for Fort Worth ISD students
By Diane Arnaout, M.D.
I got to spend some time with my buddy and colleague Samson Cantu, M.D., and his wife Clara (a former educator) last month, along with 18 local high school juniors and seniors. We had an awesome time together and I wanted to tell you about it.
Many of you may know Dr. Cantu. He’s been treating kiddos with the Cook Children’s Gastroenterology team since 2011 and probably takes care of many of your kiddos. He’s a popular guy. Last year, you all chose him to be the doctor who was slimed during our annual Slime-A-Doc competition. I think that means you love him, right?
He is a true gem of a doctor – real, funny, honest, kind, and smart. So when he told me he was running year two of a program called “Saturday Morning Medicine” and would I like to volunteer my time, how could I say no?
Dr. Cantu grew up with asthma, so his childhood was spent seeing a lot of doctors and nurses, like his pediatrician and all the different types of ER staff. The constant exposure to medical folks peaked his interest in a career in medicine. At the end of high school, “[he] was fortunate enough to be accepted into an 8-year combined undergraduate and medical school program, and this paved the way for me to become a doctor!”
Since becoming a pediatric gastroenterologist, Dr. C decided it was time to give back to his community.
Dr. Cantu and Mrs. Cantu decided to develop a program in Fort Worth that would encourage and nurture the participation and education of high schoolers who were interested in a career in the medical field.
Last year, the Cantus went to all the Fort Worth ISD high schools that offer Anatomy and Physiology classes and proposed their program “Saturday Morning Medicine” to the students.
The students had to apply and be accepted into the program. Parts of the application included essay questions asking the students why they were interested in a career in medicine. It was no joke – they really needed to be serious about their career plans!
Applications trickled in year one, and more than doubled for this year’s session! The students love it!
The seniors and juniors learn about medical careers over four Saturday sessions per spring. They get to visit different parts of Cook Children’s Medical Center including the simulation lab, hear various speakers (doctors, nurses, therapists), and also get some one-on-one time with volunteers (that’s where I came in)!
My two students and I talked about all sorts of things – what they hoped to do one day, how school was going, how to plan for the future, and what to do to meet those big goals.
It was so fun – and it was really cool to watch these kids soak in all the information and get ahead of the game. I found myself wishing I had had this opportunity as a high schooler!
If you’re in a medical field (doctor, nurse, child life, therapist of any type, allied health, everyone!) and you’re interested in giving back to the community and these amazing kids, please leave your email address in the comments and the Cantus may contact you soon to volunteer for “Saturday Morning Medicine”!
You won’t regret it and can really make an impact in these teenagers’ lives.
About the Author
"Dr. Diane Arnaout is a pediatrician at the Cook Children's Forest Park practice. If you would like to see her at Forest Park, call 817-336-3800 or click here for an appointment. Dr. Diane has been a Cook Children’s physician since 2011.
She got her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, went to medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and completed her pediatric residency in the Texas Medical Center at UT Health Science Center in Houston.
She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. She has two small kids, whom she credits as being her toughest (and best) teachers. She loves being a pediatrician and loves to teach parents all about their childrens’ health daily, both in-person and online.”