The Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center (BRAHEC) at James Madison University, in partnership with Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH), is creating a Youth and Diversity in Health Care Professions (YDHP) program to increase the diversity in Virginia’s health care workforce by focusing on middle and high school pipeline activities.
Youth and Diversity in Health Care Professions (YDHP) introduces underrepresented minority students to health professions; increases their interest in pursuing a health profession; and increases their success in school through parent education. YDHP hosts the Careers for Bilingual Professionals event and participates in three Teen Health Career Fairs. The partnership includes a five-day camp for middle and high school students called Careers in Health and Medicine Program (CHAMP), facilitates a Junior Volunteer Program and Shadowing Program and home visits to help students and parents with goal setting.
In the Summer of 2013, 22 students participated in Careers in Health and Medicine Program (CHAMP) Camp, 14 students participated in Camp RMH, and 45 students participated in the Careers for Bilingual Professionals event at RMH. The program is currently preparing for the Junior Volunteering and Shadowing Programs as a follow up to the summer camps.
Measuring the Impact
The program is assuring quality care by selecting only health care professionals with necessary credentials and providing the students with anonymous evaluations after each day. The program is engaging the community by making home visits to the student-participants’ homes and meeting with the parents. Additionally, the program has provided two post-secondary education workshops on the last day of each camp. The program is building a network of health care professionals that understand our goals and objectives. To date, the program is very effective based on the feedback received from the students, parents, health care professionals and facilitators. The middle and high school students share enthusiasm in the camps, are highly motivated to continue researching health careers, and look forward to updates about upcoming YDHP programs.
Working Together to Engage Voluneers, Staff and Community Members
The Youth and Diversity in Health Care Professions (YDHP) program has conducted the following activities which can be viewed in this slideshow:
- Visited local high schools (9 high school visits; 2 award assemblies)
- Hosted the Careers for Bilingual Professionals event (45 students)
- Participated in three Teen Health Career Fairs (1,500 students)
- CHAMP Camp (5-day camp with 22 students)
- Two workshops to educate parents (33 parents)
- Home visits to help students and parents with goal setting and reducing barriers to student success
In the Fall of 2013, the program will implement a Junior Volunteer Program and Shadowing Program; plan a fall retreat for all camp participants and provide scholarship money for college students studying a health career.
The YDHP program engages volunteers, staff, community members and others in a variety of ways. The Careers for Bilingual Professionals brought together four bilingual volunteers; the Teen Health Fair engaged 35 volunteer health and human service professionals to help introduce youth to health careers while engaging school administrators, teachers and counselors; and, the program has provided two post-secondary education workshops on the last day of camp that allows CHAMP Camp students to meet with JMU undergraduate pre-professionals who serve as coaches and guide the camp participants in their projects.