|Academy draws bright minds to health care
by Cindy Abole
During early summer, it is typical to find teenagers at a nearby beach,
on vacation or spending time with their friends. For about 31 young men
and women, their first weeks of June were spent with their peers
learning some fundamentals needed to become successful physicians,
nurses, dentists or other type of health care professionals.
For the sixth year, the South Carolina Health Education Consortium (SC
AHEC) and MUSC teamed up to offer the Summer Careers Academy, held June
6-11 in Charleston.
Blake, Danequa Bacchus and Tierra Bailey share details about diabetes
with Summer Academy fellows and guests during the June 11 poster
session. Not pictured is Kennisha Mack.
The program is designed to help students, especially minority and
disadvantaged individuals, as they get the chance to explore careers in
medicine and health care within South Carolina. The program is
co-sponsored by SC AHEC and MUSC’s colleges of Dental Medicine,
Nursing, Medicine and the MUSC Library.
Participants must be South Carolina residents, age 18 or older, and
must be enrolled or accepted into an accredited college or university
for Fall 2010. They must also show an interest or desire in studying
nursing, medicine or dentistry.
“Our goal is to catch students early on especially as they begin their
undergraduate education and plan and make decisions about their
careers,” said Angelica Christie, SC AHEC Health Careers Program
director. “This program allows participants to get important
information and be guided by the programs and institutions that teach
and prepare our state’s health professionals. Students who complete
this program should have the knowledge and experience to make some
informed decisions about their course work, activities and professional
networking behaviors necessary to prepare them in college and beyond.”
The academy was established in 2004 as a program to increase interest
in nursing throughout South Carolina. Its success later expanded to
include dental students (2006) and medical students (2008). Christie
hopes the program will expand and include additional health career
fields in future sessions and continue to attract talented students.
A key component to the program is an emphasis on interprofessional
training where students form and are taught the value of
interdisciplinary health teams, a practice that is being used widely in
hospitals and health care institiutions. Working in teams enhance a
student learning, communication and sharing of experiences, according
Florence native John Duncan, an incoming College of Charleston
freshman, enjoyed the interactive team training in MUSC’s new
Simulation Center located in the College of Nursing.
Roysean Philson, also of the College of Charleston, liked the
hands-on teaching approach offered at the Simulation Center and review
of the gross anatomy lab. Philson’s shadowing experience paired him
with Children’s Hospital pediatricians James Roberts, M.D., and Luther
“I would not have learned what I did in that one week without
participating in the job shadowing and other summer academy
experiences,” said Philson. “I realized that this experience could
potentially open some important doors that could help me achieve my
goal of becoming a doctor.”
In addition to the student’s positive experiences, participating
faculty praised the program’s successes. College of Dental Medicine
diversity director Gwendolyn Brown, DMD, has participated in the health
careers program since 2006, the first year the dental track was offered
to students interested in dentistry. For 2010, she was glad to work
with three dental career academy students: Alicia Lamar, Jaquanique
Sanders and Charles Wingate. The team won third place in the annual
interdisciplinary poster competition.
“The dental students, as well as all academy participants, did a
wonderful job,” said Brown. Dental student fellows must meet additional
criteria and must have completed a minimum of 12 hours of academic
credit from an accredited college or university.
The interdisciplinary poster project challenges all academy students to
learn and report on a wide range of health care topics from obesity,
osteoporosis and bone regeneration to diabetes and advanced
technologies and other health disparities. Throughout the program,
teams conducted research and translated their findings in a PowerPoint
presentation on the academy’s final day, June 11.
Winners in the poster presentations were: first place—“Osteoporosis:
Bad to the Bone” by Megan Thompson, Christina Bodison, Demetria Bumster
and Essence Jackson; second place—“Price of a Snack (Diabetes)” by
Lakedra Robinson, Taylor Priester, Austin Gray and Elizabeth Brown; and
third place—“How do medicines used for osteoporosis affect dental
treatment” by Lamar, Sanders and Wingate. Academy fellows also
recognized Wingate with the program’s peer role model award.
Friday, July 15,