Jan. 16, 2009| The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has been recognized by the Arkansas Medical Mentor Partnership for its innovative approach to recruiting high school students into health care careers.
Mark Mengel, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Regional Programs and executive director of the UAMS Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, was presented an appreciation plaque on Dec. 3 at the 74th annual Arkansas Farm Bureau convention in Hot Springs. The plaque recognizes UAMS’ 20 years of support of the MASH (Medical Application of Science for Health) program.
“MASH is made possible by the dedicated health professionals at UAMS and community hospitals who work hard every year to provide inspiring health care-related learning experiences for students,” Mengel said. “Many of our MASH participants go on to pursue medical careers, so we know this is an effective program, and we are honored to receive this recognition.”
The plaque was presented to Mengel by Heather Hartlerode, who participated in a MASH program at Harrison as a high school student, assisted with MASH students last year and is now a second-year medical student and president of the Rural Medicine Student Leadership Association at UAMS.
MASH is designed for above-average students interested in health care as a career, and its summer programs are held throughout the state. Participants are chosen through a competitive application process. Statewide, about 350 high school students participate each summer in MASH programs organized by UAMS, its AHECs and community hospitals.
Each MASH program is organized locally, calling on whatever resources are available to expose students to a variety of health care fields. Private-practice doctors, dentists, ambulance services, emergency medical technicians and even veterinarians volunteer their time and facilities. Many MASH programs based outside Pulaski County also schedule field trips to the UAMS campus and its affiliate Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The success of the MASH program is a tribute to its supporters in the Arkansas Mentor Partnership, Mengel said, particularly the strong financial support of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. The partnership is a group of organizations whose concerns over a shortage of medical professionals in rural Arkansas led to their support of the MASH program. Members of that partnership include the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the UAMS AHEC Program and the Rural Hospital Program, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, Arkansas Community Health Centers, Baptist Health and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas Inc.