Success Stories

The Graduate Medical Education Consortium and Southwest Area Health Education Center (GMEC-AHEC) created a 15-week high school Health Career Explorers Program in Giles County and Floyd County. Each Explorers program introduces students to a wide variety of health professionals and educates students via hands-on activities and site visits to medical school labs, hospitals and other practice sites as available.

Project Goal

The goal of the project is to implement a 15-week high school Health Career Explorers Program in two high schools in the New River Valley.

Current Status

Early in the planning process, two high schools – Narrows High School in Giles County and Floyd County High School – agreed to host the Health Career Explorers Program in their schools. These programs kick-off in the Fall of 2013.

The Program takes place in Floyd County High School as a part of their Health Professions Prep course for 9th and 10th graders during the school day; and in Narrows High School as an after school activity. Susan Marmagas, Assistant Director of Virginia Tech’s Public Health Program; the Commonwealth Public Health Training Center; and, the Office of Health Professions Advising at Virginia Tech will work with the Health Career Explorers Program students in an advisory capacity at the end of the 15-week program.

Measuring the Impact

This Program takes place during the first three months of the academic school year in two high schools. To ensure consistency in the Program, each school is exposed to the same health profession careers; will participate in the same activities; listens to the same professional speakers; participates in the same field trips; and, receives the same educational materials.

Working Together to Build Communities

The Program engages high school students in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs), not only by exposing students to local health professionals, but also providing hands on experiential learning opportunities and field trips. The experiential opportunities and field trips introduce the students to community members and organizations across the Southwest Virginia region. Through the PhotoVoice project, students engage in the Program by documenting what they learn through picture-story telling which builds confidence that their opinions matter. Overall, the Program encourages local high school students to pursue a health career and equips them with the knowledge and skills to obtain it.

Find Local Support

Blue Ridge Region AHEC – Shenandoah Valley

Capital Region AHEC – Richmond Metro and surrounding areas

Eastern Virginia Region AHEC – Southeast Virginia and Peninsula

Northern Virginia Region AHEC – Northern Virginia

Rappahannock Region AHEC – Northern Neck, Fredericksburg, and Middle Peninsula

South Central Region AHEC – Lynchburg, Danville, and surrounding area

Southside Region AHEC – South of Richmond

Southwest Virginia Region AHEC – Roanoke Valley and West