Tony Hansberry II is a ninth-grader who, as it happens, will be presenting his findings today before an auditorium filled with doctors just like any of his board-certified - and decades older - colleagues would. He would say he was following in the footsteps of "Doogie Howser, M.D." - if he weren't too young to have heard of the television show.Instead, he says that his remarkable accomplishments are merely steps toward his ultimate goal of becoming a University of Florida-trained neurosurgeon.
"I just want to help people and be respected, knowing that I can save lives," said Tony, the son of a registered nurse mom and an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor dad.To be sure, he had some help along the way, but, then again, most researchers do. The seeds of his project were planted last summer during his internship at the University of Florida's Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research, based at Shands Jacksonville.
To understand why a teenager would be a hospital intern, it's important to know that Tony is a student down the street from Shands at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School, a magnet school geared toward all things medical. (Students, for example, master suturing by the eighth grade.)