Health Careers Information
The Health Careers Opportunity Programs (Pipeline Programs) have been developed with the leadership and direction school district educators in an effort to stimulate the students’ interest in health careers. The goal in the development of these programs has been to create a series of enriching educational experiences from the elementary level to the college level, generating a continuum of learning opportunities and challenges for the students. A listing of the pipeline programs that have been developed by the MRGAHEC and are currently offered is as follows:
AHEC Mini Academy (5th & 6th Graders) – This summer program is offered to fifth and sixth grade students. The program is designed to explore the wonders of the human body. A specialized curriculum teaches the students about the medical field and integrates courses in science, mathematics, and health. Hands-on activities include working with DNA, studying the function of the digestive system, dissection of sheep hearts and eyes, as well as observing various types of chemical reactions.
AHEC Jr. Academy (7th & 8th Graders) – This program is offered to seventh and eighth grade students. During the one-week intensive summer camp program, the student is provided with training in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and health sciences. The instructor’s lecture plan includes math and science concepts encountered in the everyday world. Students work in groups to solve common problems related to the day’s lecture. Topics include body measurement, calorimetry, biochemistry, histology, light, gas laws, anatomy, solutions and acids/bases. Hands-on activities include analyzing glucose and pH levels, studying renal system function, and dissection. The mathematics component consists of activities that focus on statistics.
AHEC Student Leadership Program (9th thru12th Graders) – This project addresses the needs of underrepresented, minority, high school students to improve access to higher education. Resources are made available to allow students to make informed decisions on a career path. Health care careers are promoted; however, students do not have to commit to a health career to participate. The structure of the program provides opportunities for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations through youth-led projects; it applies the concept of service-learning. In addition to fostering a sense of caring for others, the students contribute to community needs through service projects conducted. Students practice leadership skills, build character, and enhance their education, as they become actively contributing citizens. The program is offered to high school students. In addition, students serve as AHEC ambassadors amongst their peers in each of their schools.
Health Careers Camp (9th thru 12th Graders) – The goal of this three-day health careers camp is to expose interested students to the various career choices in the medical field, as well as provide them with an opportunity to interact with practicing health care professionals. The program includes presentations that highlight careers as a medical doctor, physician assistant, nurse, nutritionist, emergency medical technician and others. Students attending the camp also receive information about AHEC programs that can help guide students in pursuing their educational goals. The camp is offered to high school students.
Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) (9th thru 12th Graders) – Youth Health Service Corps, a nationally recognized health career awareness and recruitment program, was initiated in 2007. The goal is to expose students to professional career role models and learn about different health careers while developing leadership skills and a sense of personal social responsibility to serve their community. After completing the 36 hour curriculum on cultural diversity and community health problems, the students volunteer in a community agency for a minimum of 50 hours of service. In addition, the students are encouraged to participate in volunteer community service projects, of their choice, that require them to learn about health issues and other community concerns then use the information to raise awareness in others. The program is offered throughout the school year.
Summer Biomedical Enrichment Program (9th thru 12th Graders) – This is a three-day program offered to high school students with a strong interest in the health care professions. Students interact with practicing providers, participate in research projects and learn through hands on activities focused on medical careers. The students are chartered, via bus, to an institution of higher learning for a one-day experience.
AHEC College Academy (9th thru 12th Graders) – This one-week summer program is one of the most popular enrichment programs for junior and senior high school students. The goal is to prepare students for the school-to-college transition and career process. The program provides thirty hours of training with attention to the areas of personal skills assessment, academic awareness, standardized testing preparation, health care career exploration, college search, application/ portfolio creation, and college survival skills. Instruction is provided in the mathematics portion of the SAT with the use of the graphing calculator. Students also receive instruction and practice in the critical reading portion of the SAT test. Students leave the session with a twelve-week study plan for the SAT or ACT college entrance exams. The program also includes an afternoon session with the parents to emphasize the scholarship programs available and highlight the importance of parental support regarding higher education goals.
SAT Prep Workshops (6th thru 12th Graders) – SAT preparation workshops are offered during the year for students from Webb, Zapata, and Dimmitt Counties. These one-day workshops are designed to help students prepare for college entrance exams. The workshops offer guidance and instruction on verbal and mathematical skills. Students learn test-taking strategies for the SAT mathematics and verbal sections. The mathematics component includes the use of the graphing calculator for solving problems.
Motivational Seminars (11th thru 14th Graders) – A series of motivational seminars are offered at various schools including Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University. The students are introduced to various health care professionals as guest speakers. Each speaker informs the students about their specific professional career, educational experiences, and opportunities in our community. Educational funding opportunities for working students are discussed. These seminars serve to broaden the students’ horizons and motivate them to pursue a four-year or higher educational degree. The health care professionals also serve as role models for students. In each seminar different areas of health care are featured. Seminars are scheduled throughout the year in an effort to encourage students to pursue health care careers.
The PREP (13th thru 16th Graders) – An intense review of admissions tests for health professions. This program was initiated in 2010 through a partnership between the MRGBAHEC and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo, Texas. The goal of this course is to increase the pool of qualified applicants to health professional schools, and thus, improve the health professional workforce of our community. The PREP is designed for college level students to review for admissions tests for medical school, dental school and pharmacy school. The students are selected to participate in a six-week course that requires 70 contact hours in review of biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics and verbal skills. The students are administered a pre and post review MCAT test.
Mentoring/Shadowing Program (10th thru 16th Graders) – Mentoring and shadowing is made available for students from the 10th grade thru the college level. Mentors include health care professionals from the community who have agreed to participate in the program by allowing students to shadow their profession and learn the day-to-day aspects of their practice. Students interested must first complete AHEC training which includes cultural diversity, health career exploration and ethical practices in an office setting. The program is designed based on each individual student and in accordance with the mentor’s availability.