SUMR 14 at The Mutter Museum: A Photo Page

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SUMR 14 at The Mutter Museum: A Photo Page

Penn Undergrad Scholars Meet Mutter High School Karabots Junior Fellows

Published with permission of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

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[Click image for 8x10 high-res version] For the third year, the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) has joined with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP) to hold a one-day forum that brings together health-care minority research students from both institutions to discuss similar academic interests. LDI's university-level students are the Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholars; CPP's are the high school-level Karabots Junior Fellows who also spend the summer immersed in health-care related studies and experiences. Both programs serve as pipelines for attracting underrepresented minorities into health care-related undergraduate and PhD programs. Above, both groups and their administrators gather on the grand stairway in the CPP building in downtown Philadelphia.
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[Click images for larger] The country's oldest medical society, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP) is a private professional organization for the ongoing professional education and development of physicians and the site of both the C. Everett Koop Community Health Information Center and the Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. It also contains the 156-year-old Mutter Museum whose sprawling collection of Victorian-era anatomical specimens and medical oddities make it one of the region's most unique tourist attractions. Along with their other activities, Karabots students learn medical history and act as Mutter Museum docents for visitors.
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Above, left, a Karabot junior fellow (top center with neck lanyard) explains the made-from-life plaster casts of Chang and Eng Bunker -- the conjoined twins from Siam whose situation gave rise to the term "Siamese Twins." In the early 19th century, the two became famous by exhibiting themselves throughout the U.S. and Europe. In a semi-circle, left to right, are Penn/LDI SUMR scholars Siya Ndwandwe, Mounika Kanneganti, SUMR Program Coordinator Safa Browne, SUMR scholars Moses Flash, Isabella Ciuffetelli and Ruchita Pendse (eyes in the corner). Above, right, SUMR scholars cluster around the Mutter's wall of skulls.
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The two-story Mutter houses, among other things, 3,000 bone exhibits of various kinds including North America's tallest skeleton -- a 7-foot, six-inch man. Above, right, SUMR scholars Ruchita Pendse, Mounika Kanneganti and Isabella Ciuffetelli look through the glass and marvel at a nine-foot human colon that contained 40 pounds of fecal matter when it was removed from an enormously obese 19th-century circus sideshow performer.
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Taking in the "Tsantsa" -- or shrunken heads -- display are SUMR scholars Karena Taylor (left) and Nehanda Khemet. Decapitating rivals and shrinking their heads as war trophies was a tradition of South American tribes. In Victorian times, the heads became highly-valued collectibles in Europe and the U.S.
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Jason Tran, Sarah Appeadu and Hillary Bonuedie inspect the Mutter's "Soap Lady" -- the body of a woman dug up in a Philadelphia cemetery in 1875. Under rare circumstances, including isolation from oxygen, the infestation of a certain kind of bacteria, and entombment in very moist, alkaline soil, human bodies can turn to into a wax-like adipocere rather than decay.
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Above, left, touring as a group, Taylor Chavez (red shirt), Safa Browne, Moses Flash, Isaiah Selkridge, Ruchita Pendse and Siya Ndwandwe were often agog at the displays. Above, right, is one of a collection of century-old human faces perserved in formaldehyde.
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Told as only the Mutter can -- with the skeletal remains of deformed Victorian women -- is the story of the harm done by that era's corsets. Above, right, inspecting bones punctured and shattered by Civil War bullets are (l to r) Sarah Appeadu, Jason Tran, Shamarlon Yates, Karena Taylor, Nehand Khemet and Hillary Bonuedie.
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At a case featuring a skull deformed by a bone-penetrating disease are Ruchia Pendse and Mounika Kanneganti. Above, right, an anatomical model made from a real head. In an earlier age before modern communications technologies, such displays were invaluable training tools for young physicians.
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Constructed in 1909, the grand interior architecture of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia's building was patterned after that of London's 17th-century Royal College of Physicians. Here, in one of the day's two joint SUMR/Karabots sessions, Ruchita Pendse, a Penn junior majoring in Health and Societies, explains Penn's undergraduate minority research program.
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Like the other SUMR scholars, Nehanda Khemet and Moses Flash (above, left) helped the high-school level Karabots students better understand how programs like Penn's could provide potential career avenues into the field of health care-related studies and research. Some of the Penn/LDI SUMR scholars taking part in the meetings were (above, right, top row), Safa Browne, Siya Ndwandwe, a Karabots fellow, Hillary Bonuedie, and Tyler Chavez; (bottom row) Isabella Ciuffetelli, Jason Tran, Ruchita Pendse, and Sarah Appeadu.