June 29, 2017 | Twelve rising high school juniors and seniors recently spent two weeks at UAMS learning about health care careers, patient- and family-centered care, first aid and teen health issues.
They were selected from more than 60 applications submitted to the Health Education Active Learning Experience for Regional Scholars (HEALERS) program, which is sponsored by the UAMS Medical Center Auxiliary. Now in its fifth year, the program is directed by Jennifer Huie, volunteer coordinator for the UAMS volunteer services department.
“The students love this hands-on opportunity to see what a medical career is like,” said Huie. “Thanks to all the UAMS doctors and staff who take time to work with them and make this such a high-quality program, it’s a life-changing experience for many of our participants.”
Several graduates from previous years are now volunteers at the hospital, and Huie said she recently received a request to write a medical school recommendation letter for a graduate of the program’s first year.
“He’s in the first class to graduate from college and be at this point in his life,” said Huie. “Like many other graduates, he’ll be a great doctor. I’m looking forward to writing a letter for him and many other HEALERS graduates. Through the application and interview process, we are able to offer this program to an outstanding group of kids who are really passionate about future careers in medicine.”
A typical day for the teens begins at 8:30 a.m. with an educational session such as first aid and CPR or time in the Clinical Skills Lab or Simulation Center. Activities include casting, suturing and work in the heart and brain labs. They also tour the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department and helipad. After lunch in the cafeteria, they spent two hours each afternoon volunteering. Volunteer assignments are exclusive to patient care areas, giving the students an opportunity to see medical care as it is being delivered here at UAMS. Some of these areas include the Emergency Department, Neurology Unit and ICU.
“The success of this program is due to the commitment from the faculty and staff who so generously share their time and expertise with the students,” said Huie. “Everyone I ask is always willing to sign up for a session, and they go out of their way to engage the students and make it interesting for them. They are the ones who make this such a rewarding and valuable program, helping these kids realize how fulfilling a health care career can be and just how many different career paths there are in this field.”
Participants in the 2017 HEALERS program were Madison Aldy from Pulaski Academy; Harrison Brown and Jeffrey Willis from Catholic High School; Lexi Caruthers and Cameron Heslip from Mount St. Mary Academy; Samantha Crabill, a home school student; Darina Dudina from Maumelle High School; Meredith Hatfield and Sophia Lingo from Central High School; London Howell and Loren Taylor from LISA Academy; and Hannah Malone from Sylvan Hills High School.
Applications and dates for the 2018 HEALERS program will be posted on the UAMShealth.com website in January 2018. Click here for more information about the program.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.