Feb. 23, 2009 | Agginie Zinsie of Ghana, known for his storytelling, dance, and drumming, delighted patients and families in a recent performance arranged by the Museum of Discovery and Billy Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for diversity affairs in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine.
Zinsie was spending the month as a special artist “in house” at Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery, which has been host to the annual Summer Science Discovery Program of the UAMS Center for Diversity Affairs.
His performance, held Feb. 10 at UAMS affiliate Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), may signal the potential for introducing careers in health care to children across Arkansas.
Thomas said the Center for Diversity Affairs is now working with the UAMS Center for Distance Health, ACH and the Museum of Discovery to develop an interactive video network that could transmit museum events to the young patients at ACH. He sees it as an expansion of what the summer program does by trying to reach students – especially those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds – with science and cultural programs that could interest them in a health-related profession.
“For these young hospital patients, many have to spend a lot of time here so interactive video could reach them with education and science programs from the museum,” Thomas said. “Many of those patients know a lot about the diseases they are fighting, which could lead them to developing an interest in a career in health care.”
Thomas said he envisioned the expansion of the video network and in the future, being able to reach students at schools and other facilities across the state, delivering interactive science and health-based programs.