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Health Science Camp gives kids glimpse of medicine

This week, 24 rising 9th-11th grade students are getting a behind-the-scenes look at health science careers in their community, as well as the higher education programs offered locally that can prepare them for a career in nursing, surgery, pharmacy and other health care jobs.

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Offered to students at no cost, the first Health Science Career Camp is offered through a partnership among Henderson County Public Schools, Pardee UNC Health Care, Wingate University, and Blue Ridge Community College, and funded through a Golden LEAF Foundation grant – which has also assisted in providing simulation equipment for the HCPS Health Sciences programs.

“This is to expose students to what core and Career and Technical Education high school classes they should be taking to pursue a career in health sciences,” said HCPS Career Development Coordinator Amy Singletary. “We’re trying to get these students to know where they can go locally for the next level of health sciences education and make valuable contacts in the community that may serve their future careers.”

Through Pardee, students will learn about careers in physical therapy, sports medicine, oncology, infectious disease control, orthopedics, cardiology, behavioral health, and emergency medicine. During their tours of Pardee’s multiple facilities, the students will be able to participate in hands-on cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy, ultrasound, and EKG demonstrations.

"We are delighted to host Henderson County high school students for this week's Health Science Careers Camp," said Johnna Reed, chief administrative officer at Pardee UNC Health Care. "Our goal is to highlight the many different career paths health care has to offer to these bright young men and women.”

Wingate University and BRCC will expose students to postsecondary education options in the health sciences field, such as Wingate’s School of Pharmacy and physician assistant program, and BRCC’s surgical technology, nursing, and EMT programs.

At BRCC, students will work with simulation manikins and learn about intubation and surgery, as well as the educational programs available on campus. “The demand for health sciences employees is growing daily,” said Jay Alley, dean of health services and emergency services at BRCC. “We’re trying to meet that need. Getting to students while they’re in high school gives us the opportunity to get them prepared so they can become employed in the field and become assets to the community.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with students through this program. With the construction of the Health Sciences Center, Henderson County is quickly becoming a leader in healthcare education,” said Dr. Kurt Wargo, regional dean of the Wingate University Hendersonville Health Sciences Center. “For students, this means the ability to complete all their schooling here in Western NC. We always welcome any opportunity to speak with both students and their families to help make their dreams of becoming a healthcare provider here in Henderson County a reality.”

“Because the job outlook for careers in health sciences is so promising, we hope these students confirm their desires to pursue a job in this field, and are able to identify some specific areas of interest,” said Dr. Wendy Frye, director of high schools at HCPS. “Our desire is that these students stay in Henderson County where so many opportunities already exist.”