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OUHSC’s Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy Introduces High Schoolers to Health Career Possibilities

OUHSC’s Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy Introduces High Schoolers to Health Career Possibilities

Seed Sower at HSC

This week, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is virtually hosting the Aspiring Health Professions Summer Academy, a week-long program for high school students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in the health profession.

“The academy is a great way to introduce students to OU’s seven health professional colleges,” said Carrie McClain, assistant vice president of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the OU Health Sciences Center. “It allows them the opportunity to experience the programs through hands-on activities, engaging discussions with Health Sciences Center faculty, staff and students, and participate in simulations.”

Twenty-eight students are attending the academy this year – a sizable increase from last year’s 18 attendees.

“I believe the academy is a great opportunity for students like myself to get a chance to see different types of medical professionals and what they do,” said one student. “We also get the opportunity to see if we’d one day enjoy being a medical professional in the future.”

Although the academy is hosted virtually this year, students are still able to participate in the hands-on activities with tool kits provided to them by the university.

This year, one of the hands-on activities is learning how to make teeth impressions. Students picked up their tool kits last week from the OU Health Sciences Center, which included all of the necessary materials, and members of the College of Dentistry Diversity Council demonstrated the mold-making process.

Dr. Bernard Rhone, assistant clinical professor for the College of Dentistry, shared that the dentistry students enjoy sharing the skills they have learned while in dental school at OU.

“The dentistry students feel empowered by giving back and inspiring young minds while showcasing their skills,” Rhone said. “It is a time for them to play the role of the master, or teacher. The attendees, in turn, get a peek behind ’the curtain’ and can see and feel in a very tangible way that it is attainable for them, and they can develop the skills needed to be a dentist or dental hygienist. It’s a win-win solution.”

Through the academy, students will also engage in Stop the Bleed training, where they will learn three different bleeding control actions. They also take part in a live simulation led by the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies to learn how health care professionals can work together to save lives.

Presenters are also scheduled to talk about the importance of mentoring, financial aid, money management and the admissions process for undergraduate programs.

McClain shared that these additional sessions are intentionally included to help provide resources to aid students in their pathway to the health professions.

“This experience of being in the academy has made me extremely grateful,” another student shared. “It has given me a hands-on opportunity to begin the long journey of pursuing an occupation I want in my future.”

By Mackenzie Scheer

Article Published:  Wednesday, July 15, 2020