Kernersville — Erin Hall touched all the skulls, hearts, diseased lungs and other human body parts on display at East Forsyth High School.

“It was all kind of gross, but it was cool because it was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity,” Hall said.

Hall, a senior at East Forsyth, was among about 60 students at the school who participated in a hands-on learning program Thursday called the Rolling Bones.

Wake Forest Baptist Health and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools have teamed up to provide the experience for local high school students.

Human-tissue services/anatomy, ultrasound and simulation teams from the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Center for Experiential and Applied Learning, or CEAL, created the Rolling Bones program to bring medical simulation and human hearts, lungs, brains and bones from the health-care training lab to high schools throughout the school system.

In addition to bringing human hearts, brains and lungs to middle schools and high schools in the local community, Rolling Bones’ goal is ‘to give students a hands-on experience connected to health-care and STEM careers,” JaNae Joyner-Corcoran, CEAL’s executive director said, using the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The team travels in a decommissioned ambulance that was once used by Brenner Children’s Hospital. Current plans are to have 15 schools participate in the program over the next several months.

On Thursday, East Forsyth students rotated between four different stations. The bones station focused on skulls and parts of the brain. The lungs area included human hearts, inflatable pig lungs and diseased human lungs from people who had emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

There was also a simulation station with a high-fidelity manikin to help students learn CPR and an heart ultrasound station.

Joyner-Corcoran spoke of the importance of the student’s being hands-on in the program, which is focused on the cardiovascular system.

“We want them to touch and feel and understand,” she said. “All of this curriculum are things that our medical doctors and our physician assistants go through in our lab back at the medical school.”

Joyner-Corcoran also considers the program “a pipeline activity that really helps to encourage students to think about future careers in science as well as health-care career fields.”

Hall, who has been considering a career in sports marketing, said she learned a lot from Rolling Bones and now believes there’s more of a possibility she will check out the medical field.

“I thought it was really cool,” she said. “I like the CPR dummy and then learning about the lungs and stuff, and how smoking and all this stuff can actually impact you, a lot more than what I thought it would.”

“I didn’t think it was going to be as cool as it was” said Sydney Hughes, a junior, who wants to become a dentist, “but I’m actually here and there’s stuff I can touch, which is really awesome.”

Caleb Raftelis, a senior, said he is thinking about going into the medical field.

He said the CEAL program teaches students a lot of things.

“It shows us a variety of different things, like the organs and stuff,” Raftelis said.

He especially liked the ultrasound station.

“It was just cool to be able to use sound to look at the organs in the body, the heart for sure,” he said.

Pam McFadden, an anatomy and physiology teacher at East Forsyth, said there was nothing like the Rolling Bones program when she was in school.

“Just to bring the simulation and for the kids to see organs from humans,” McFadden said. “This is the first time that we’ve ever had anything like this to come to East. It brings anatomy to life.”

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Fran Daniel is a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact her at or 336-727-7366.

Recommended for you

Load comments