DAPM at El Segundo High School for PLTW

Throughout the year, our faculty and residents have the opportunity to participate in community outreach activities in greater Los Angeles. These events energize and inspire our faculty and residents, giving them the chance to see how anesthesiology impacts the community at large and inspire the next generation of medical students.

One of our most notable community outreach programs is the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (DAPM) Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Outreach Program. Led by Dr. Sophia Poorsattar, UCLA DAPM faculty member and Program Director, this community enrichment and pipeline program aims to encourage and support high schoolers of all backgrounds with varying levels of exposure to healthcare fields to pursue careers in medicine. More specifically, as the efforts are led by anesthesiologists, the program allows specialty-directed community outreach and education of the community about what an anesthesiologist’s role is in medicine, education, and patient-based outcomes.

PLTW Workshop at RRUMC

“One of the things I love most about engaging with the students is getting to witness their ‘a-ha' moments, where the biomedical topics that they've learned in the classroom come to life as we discuss real-world clinical scenarios and immerse them in hands-on simulations. The reception has been overwhelming, with the impact felt well beyond the classroom.”

— Sophia Poorsattar, MD



The foundation of the program involves UCLA DAPM, in collaboration with the California Society for Anesthesiology (CSA), facilitating an innovative four-year curriculum in biomedical education developed by PLTW, a national nonprofit organization, in three local high schools: El Segundo High School, Venice High School, and Girl's Academic Leadership Academy at Los Angeles High School. The PLTW biomedical pathway is a proven applied learning curriculum that creates classrooms where students learn biomedical content via activities-, projects-, and problem-based learning and then apply what they learn to solve real world problems with the goal of increasing student understanding and engagement.

What We Do

Execution of the program relies on a range of supports, including STEM professional volunteer interactions. As such, UCLA DAPM faculty and residents serve as physician volunteers where they meet with the high school students multiple times throughout the school year to provide supplemental education and help connect what the students have learned in their biomedical curriculum to real-life clinical scenarios in anesthesiology.

DAPM leading workshop on airway management

This is achieved through moderating problem-based learning discussions, leading live demonstrations, and providing hands-on experiences. For the highest impact, visits include both faculty and residents providing educational sessions at the high schools as well as hosting field trips at the medical center. Pictured on this page, residents and faculty can be seen lead engaging and hands-on workshops on topics including the perioperative application of ultrasound, airway anatomy and management, and intraoperative monitoring. 


Sophia P. Poorsattar, MD

Sophia P. Poorsattar, MD

Program Director

Project Lead the Way

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