This Friday and Saturday, Carondelet Neurological Institute will host the second annual Brain Academy, a unique opportunity for Tucson area high school students to question, learn from and interact with medical professionals who specialize in the neurosciences. This year’s Brain Academy has expanded to include 21 area students (up from 12 participants last year). The academy is sponsored by Carondelet Health Network as part of its community outreach efforts.

The Brain Academy is a unique two-day educational opportunity for this group of select high school juniors to engage one-one-one with neurologists and neurosurgeons from the Carondelet Neurological Institute. These 21 students will tour Carondelet Neurological Institute on Friday, May 18 and then join area medical professionals at an educational conference on Saturday, May 19.

In 2011, its inaugural year, the Brain Academy reached out to teachers in the Tucson Unified School district and received help in identifying 12 students for the Academy’s first class. This year, the outreach included five area school districts and more than 60 students applied. The 21 students chosen represent 16 area high schools and were selected based on their interest in the medical sciences and on other criteria such as academic achievement and community involvement.

“The Carondelet Neurological Institute is pleased to present the Brain Academy program to these outstanding students,” said Robert P. Goldfarb, M.D., Chairman of the Institute. “These bright young minds will shape the future. We hope that this hands-on educational program, which includes one-on-one interaction with the Institute’s neurologists and neurosurgeons, will inspire them to pursue a career in the medical sciences.”

“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is critical for every student in public schools,” says Dr. John Pedicone, Tucson Unified School District Superintendent. “Carondelet Neurological Institute’s outreach to our students is a wonderful gift that brings them real life opportunities. Any student who attends this event will be enriched by what they learn and the people who provide that information, as well as being more aware of the possibilities that exist for their futures through science and medicine.”

This year, for the first time, four of the participants will be selected to receive a $1,250 scholarship from the Carondelet Foundation for their college education. Recipients will be selected based on their application essay, their level of participation and interaction with the medical professionals during this two-day event, and their desire to pursue an education in the medical field.

“Carondelet Foundation is proud to be a part of encouraging these students to pursue their dreams,” said T.K. Warfield, Chair of the Carondelet Foundation Board of Trustees. “Carondelet Neurological Institute is a treasure in our community for the care it provides to patients daily and for the vision it represents through its work with these young people.”
The first day of the Academy will be spent entirely at the Carondelet Neurological Institute. The participants will have the opportunity to see some of the most sophisticated medical equipment in Southern Arizona, which includes advanced brain and spine navigation technology and a linear accelerator used for targeted radiation of brain and spine tumors. The second day of the Academy will allow the students to participate in the Institute’s regional neuroscience educational conference as medical professionals discuss the latest advancements in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, movement disorders and a variety of other topics. Brain Academy participants will be able to measure their own brain activity and create presentations to share with other students at their high school.

Media representatives are welcome to cover the Brain Academy. The best time is Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Carondelet Neurological Institute on the campus of Carondelet St. Joseph Hospital at 350 N. Wilmot. For additional information, contact Jason Fenwick at jason.fenwick@carondelet.org or on his cell at 520.975.6728.

About Carondelet Health Network Located in Tucson, Arizona, Carondelet Health Network is a Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to responding to the health, prevention, education, and wellness needs of Southern Arizonans. Carondelet was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet 132 years ago. Carondelet’s Tucson facilities include St. Mary's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute and Carondelet Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and in Nogales, Arizona, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital. Carondelet’s family of services also include 23 primary and specialty care offices, an ambulatory surgery center, several imaging centers, Hospice and Palliative Care, and a variety of other outpatient services. Carondelet Health Network is a ministry of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system. In Fiscal Year 2011, Carondelet provided nearly $52 million in Community Benefit to improve the health of our community and increase access to healthcare. More information about Carondelet Health Network is available at www.carondelet.org.