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Advanced technology gives CAST Med students strong start
cast medCAST Med High School was the place to be Sept. 19 as students, industry professionals and representatives from various partner organizations gathered together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the school’s newly refurbished auditorium.  

CAST Med Principal Eddie Rodriguez hailed local community members, including local colleges and universities such as San Antonio Community College and The University of Texas at San Antonio who are helping students earn up to two years of college credit and providing exciting summer learning opportunities. 
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of the San Antonio Independent School District, the CAST Schools Network, Brooks, the families and students who believe in our mission, and all our amazing partners,” Rodriguez said. “Each partnership represents an opportunity for our students, and a door to their future.” 

School leaders and students provided tours of the recently renovated building, showcasing the Anatomage medical table used to teach students about human and animal anatomy. Typically, this $70,000-plus piece of technology is found at universities, but CAST Med is the first high school in Texas to have this unique tool. 

Dr. Woodson Jones, vice dean for graduate medical education at UT Health, said that when he was doing his medical training, he and his fellow students used cadavers to accomplish the same type of learning at can be accomplished using the Anatomage medical table. 

“At this level, this is amazing,” he said. “It makes learning real. You are looking at real images, real bodies. This has got to be very preparatory for these students; it’s pretty advanced. If you are used to looking at images in 3D, moving them around and understanding how the anatomy changes as you look at it, whether you want to be a radiologist or a surgeon or anybody else in medicine, this is a big jump start.” 

The table, which looks like a gigantic computer tablet, allows users to take two-dimensional digital information and convert it into three-dimensional life-size models that can be flipped, rotated, dissected and spliced. 

“I am really looking forward to getting a head start on my career,” said Adrienne Rodriguez, a CAST Med freshman who wants to work in kinesiology. “I think it is really cool how the body moves and how everything works together.”

The table was donated to the school through H-E-B, which is one of more than 40 partner organizations working with CAST Med. Industry partners are committed to linking students to exciting mentoring, job shadowing, internships, field trips, guest speaker series, and service-learning events. 

The partnerships will also allow students to shadow physicians at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, UT Health, the SAVE clinic, the University Health System, and the Bexar County Medical Society as well as expose students to a weekly guest speaker series to learn about the various medical, biomedical, and public health opportunities in San Antonio. 

Additionally, CAST Med students will participate in field trips and service-learning opportunities that will offer them a valuable perspective outside of the four walls of the classroom.

Dr. Ron Rodriguez, urology professor at UT Health San Antonio, said he was proud to be associated with the school and excited to help develop the next generation of medical, biomedical and public health professionals. With its diverse pathways and emphasis on dual-language, Rodriguez called the offering revolutionary. 
“This year there are students taking math classes in Spanish and in the coming years there will be students learning medical terminology in Spanish,” Rodriguez said. “This means that one day, the Spanish-speaking person who you treat will be able to understand you and will not be afraid to ask questions. In a city like San Antonio, this is invaluable as we work to bring greater parity to healthcare professions.”

CAST Schools Network Board Chair Kate Rogers said the schools were created with a vision to rethink the high school experience and create an environment that will empower students to find their passion and imagine their place in the world.
“We also strive to more fully understand and help fill the workforce needs of our industry partners,” she added. “Today, the CAST Schools are doing both. They are creating a bridge so students can find the career of their dreams and employers can find the employees they desire.” 
CAST Med is adding to the pipeline of much-needed doctors and researchers in the San Antonio area by offering students an opportunity to pursue careers in the medical, biomedical research, and public health fields.

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