WANTAGE-Daniel Valdes of Wantage was one of more than 350 high school juniors and seniors who attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Washington, D.C., from July 18-27. The students, having demonstrated academic achievement and an interest in a career related to science and health, learned first-hand from medical professionals about medical ethics, the global effects of infectious disease, genetic research, public health and many other subjects relevant to the field. Participants learned about the field of mental health from Ross Szabo, director of youth outreach for the National Mental Health Coalition. "There's no physical solution to a mental disease. It requires the need to address the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the patient," said Szabo. "Embrace the traits that make a person an individual. It's great to have goals, but who are you today? Who are you now? Once you answer these questions, don't be afraid to express yourself in your career. Your ideas will change the lives of your patients." Throughout the program, Valdes and other students experienced problem-based learning in a series of simulations, many of which are faced by students in medical schools throughout the country. The week ended with a public health symposium, in which students developed programs to directly impact their communities on the issues of adolescent health, care for the elderly and chronic disease. During the forum, students visited Howard University College of Medicine, the Naval Medical Research Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine to meet with doctors, nurses, scientists and professors to gather a greater understanding of medical history, standards and trends. For more information, visit www.nylf.org.