Thursday, April 9, 2015

The AHEC Pipeline Connects

Lowcountry AHEC’s Health Careers Program (HCP) and Health Profession Student (HPS) Program are collaborating on the AHEC Pipeline Connects project for a second year.  The activity provides an opportunity for participating HPS Program students to practice working as an interprofessional team by introducing HCP students and middle school students to healthcare professions.  The program increases interest in and recruits middle school students for Lowcountry’s HCP program.  Ultimately, Lowcountry AHEC expects to increase the number of HCP students accepted into health careers programs who will eventually become health professionals. 

Recap: Year Two First Phase

Lowcountry AHEC hosted the first activity of year two on November 6. HPS Program students met initially and discussed their respective disciplines, giving them an opportunity to learn from each other. Then the HPS program students worked with the high school students and middle school students at Colleton County Middle School.  The health professions students shared information about their health career, specifically, what students need to do to be accepted into a health profession program and various aspects of the programs. This discussion enabled career exploration and initiated mentor-mentee relationships.
A total of 10 Health Careers Academy (HCA) students, 17 middle school students and 10 HPS Program students participated.  The health professions training programs represented included: MUSC Physical Therapy, Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant programs Charleston Southern University Health Promotion program, the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and the A.T. Still School of Osteopathic Medicine. Program evaluations showed an increase in the interest level for healthcare careers in the HCA and middle school groups.

Year Two Second Phase

Lowcountry AHEC hosted phase two of the Pipeline Project on March 3. During this session, the HPS coordinators facilitated a discussion with the participating health profession students about their disciplines.  Then the health professions students shared information about their health careers and provided an interactive educational activity for the high school and middle school students at Colleton County Middle School.  They utilized a model of the human body and other props to educate the students on how eating healthy and exercising relates to the organs and how their health profession works with specific disease states.

A total of eight HCA students, 12 middle school students and seven HPS Program students participated.  The health professions training programs represented included: MUSC Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, and Medicine programs, the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine program. The evaluations are in the process of being analyzed, but middle school students expressed interest in joining the health careers program once they entered high school.

To learn more about Lowcountry AHEC and their programming, visit www.lcahec.com

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