|Kids learn about health careers|
Children in three North Dakota communities will learn about health careers through a program sponsored by the Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“Fostering Opportunities in Rural Health Occupations: Rural Hospitals and Educators Working Together to Create Local Opportunities for Children and Youth” is a North Dakota Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program-sponsored initiative administered through the Center for Rural Health. The program funds community partnerships to expose children to health occupations with the intent to increase their awareness, interest and understanding of health careers.
“Last year’s small hospitals that received funding through this program were highly successful in building community relationships that increased children’s interest in health occupations,” said Marlene Miller, director of the program for the Center for Rural Health.
Last year’s and this year’s projects were all designed as pilots to try different approaches to reach children and expose them to health care occupations, Miller said.
“The future of North Dakota's health system is reliant on needed professionals in small rural communities,” she continued. “We hope that through different approaches our children will stay in our state and contribute to the well-being of others.”
Three projects were funded this year:
* First Care Health Center, Park River
Through their program, “Inspector Well Ness and the Case of the Many Medical Careers,” First Care Health Center is partnering with Walsh County Head Start and Park River Elementary School to bring Health Career Week to 34 Head Start students through hands-on learning activities and a tour of First Care Health Center. The group is also working with 25 fifth-grade students at Park River elementary, teaching them about medical careers, and giving them the opportunity to participate in hands-on medical tests, procedures and other activities.
Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood
For their project, the hospital will partner with Hatton/Northwood Public Schools to develop and conduct a survey to gauge 7th-12th graders interest and knowledge of career health fields and conduct a health career fair at a school event.
Cavalier County Memorial Hospital, Langdon
Through their program, hospital staff including a paramedic, a respiratory tech and nurses, a health careers instructor, and a 911 dispatcher, will conduct a mini-first aid course for 60 students in the 7th and 8th grades.
The Flex program, funded through a grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (Health Resources and Services Administration), is a state-based partnership that works with and assists rural hospitals to stabilize and sustain their local health care infrastructure. This year the North Dakota Flex program distributed $333,191 in grant funds benefiting approximately 40 rural North Dakota communities. In addition to grants, CRH also uses Flex funds to provide technical assistance to rural providers such as community assessments, internal surveys, and strategic planning.
The Center for Rural Health administers the North Dakota Flex program, which also includes formal partnerships with the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Healthcare Association.
-- Amanda Scurry, communication coordinator, UND Center for Rural Health, email@example.com, 701-777-0871