|Grants inspire youth to pursue health care careers|
Five rural North Dakota hospitals and clinics in partnership with their local K–12 schools will use grant awards to create student awareness, interest and understanding of health careers.
The Fostering Opportunities in Rural Health Occupations grant program provides $2,000 to each health care and education partnership. The program is a joint initiative by The North Dakota State Office of Rural Health and the Eastern North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) in Mayville, which are administered by the Center for Rural Health at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“Models for elementary students, such as Dickinson’s Medical Explorers and Park River’s Inspector Wellness Program, are examples of efforts through the AHEC that can be spread across North Dakota communities to encourage our youth to consider health care fields,” said Mary Amundson, assistant professor at the UND Center for Rural Health and director for the North Dakota AHEC project.
Coal Country Community Health Center of Beulah will host a health career fair for freshman from the Beulah and Hazen public schools. The students will visit interactive booths staffed by health professionals who work in the following fields: physical and occupational therapy, clinical laboratory, radiology, emergency medical technician, social services, dietary, nursing, certified nurse assistant, respiratory therapy, emergency room and operating room, dental care and vision care. The health professionals will explain to students the career options available to them, the education required, and the career path students can expect when entering a medical field. Students will gain hands-on experience to determine if this career choice is right for them.
First Care Health Center of Park River will expand their Inspector Wellness and the Case of the Many Medical Careers program to 5th and 6th grade students from Fordville-Lankin, Valley (Crystal), and Adams-Edmore schools. Because of the time and expense of having medical staff travel to the schools, First Care Health Center will sponsor an Inspector Wellness and the Case of the Many Medical Careers II field trip. The daylong medical field trip will bring the students to visit medical professionals in Park River to learn about health careers, participate in hands-on activities related to a chosen medical field, and tour the medical facilities. The students will have the opportunity to establish acquaintances with successful health career personnel and build relationships with positive role models.
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems Inc. of Watford City will conduct a health career fair at Watford City High School for 7–12 grade students. The goals of the fair are to increase student awareness of the diverse job opportunities available in health care and to educate students as to the health workforce that the United States needs. In addition, McKenzie County Healthcare hopes to develop a sound working relationship with the high school to maintain student awareness of health care as a career option.
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center of Dickinson will take up to 46 students from 10 southwest North Dakota school districts to visit universities and hospitals in the state. The students either are enrolled in a health careers course or are members of Medical Explorers. They will tour UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, including the departments of physical therapy and occupational therapy, as well as the College of Nursing. Students will also visit North Dakota State University’s College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences to tour the clinical laboratory science, pharmacy, radiologic science and respiratory care programs. Students will also visit Altru, Innovis and MeritCare hospitals.
Devils Lake Community Clinic, a division of Towner County Medical Center of Cando, will allow Lake Area Career and Technology Center (LACTC) students, after proper training, to take patients’ vital signs. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase a blood pressure monitor, stethoscopes, thermometers and glucose meters for the training of LACTC students enrolled in the Health Careers course. Trained students would then work with health professionals at Devils Lake Community Clinic to take patients’ vital signs. In addition, Devils Lake Community Clinic will conduct a health careers fair for approximately 250, seventh and eighth grade students at the middle school.
The long-range goal of the Fostering Opportunities grant program is to help train, recruit, and retain health care providers for rural North Dakotans. For more information about the Fostering Opportunities in Rural Health Occupations grant program visit: http://ruralhealth.und.edu/projects/sorh/pdf/hott_project_description.pdf
-- Denis F. MacLeod, Communications Specialist, Center for Rural Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-3300