Students exposed to health careers at USD By David Lias
Plain Talk �? High school students from a South Dakota and three surrounding states received a dose Tuesday of what itâ�?�?s like to work in one of a variety of healing professions offered in the curriculum at USD Vermillion. �? �? �? The young women and men were introduced to a world of career opportunities in health sciences during the Health Happenings & Scrubs Camp held at the university. �? �? �? Sponsored by The University of South Dakota, Sanford Health and the South Dakota Healthcare Workforce Center, this year's program began with a keynote address from Amanda Iverson, a second-year medical student at USDâ�?�?s Sanford School of Medicine. �? �? �? Iverson spoke about her service work with HIV/AIDS intervention in Africa through the medical school's Scholarship Pathways Program. �? �? �? The Health Happenings & Scrubs Camp also offered several breakout sessions led by practicing health care professionals, including clinical psychology, dental hygiene, nursing, nutrition, physical therapy, speech and hearing and more; and an information fair where students will had an opportunity to discuss their health care career ambitions, academic goals and scholarship opportunities with members of the USD faculty. �? �? �? This yearâ�?�?s Health Happenings event marks the first time that the South Dakota departments of health, labor and education have been involved in the program. �? �? �? â�?�?Two or three years ago, they came together to look at and to study the issues around health care development in South Dakota,â�? said Gerald Yutrzenka, a professor at the Sanford School of Medicine at USD. â�?�?Their focus was projecting the need for health care workers. �? �? �? â�?�?Theyâ�?�?ve had a task force and theyâ�?�?ve had other efforts going on for the last three years or so to promote health care professions and the training of additional health care workers,â�? he said. �? �? �? High school students from South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota braved icy roads Tuesday to take part in Tuesdayâ�?�?s activities. �? �? �? â�?�?These students are primarily juniors and seniors, although there were some younger students, too,â�? Yutrzenka said. â�?�?We had nearly 400 initially who had signed up, but because of the weather, we had fewer than that.â�? �? �? �? â�?�?We had 177 students who showed up today,â�? said Travis Vlasman, senior associate director of admissions at USD. â�?�?We also had various school officials from area high schools and a fair amount of parents also came in, so it was about 400 total people who came here today.â�? �? �? �? Approximately 25 school groups made up of advanced science classes participated in Tuesdayâ�?�?s event, he said. �? �? �? Students were given the opportunity to participate in three break-out sessions during the day, Yutrzenka said. â�?�?They included a variety of programs we have here at USD as well as other health-related programs that we donâ�?�?t necessarily have here, but we had practitioners from those areas that talked about their practices.â�? �? �? �? Vlasman said the number of high school students attending Tuesdayâ�?�?s Health Happenings event, compared to last year, was up by 100 percent. �? �? �? â�?�?But as I looked at the sessions today, I saw that the medical session where we had a physician here, was very popular,â�? he said, â�?�?and also the nursing session was very full and the physical therapy session was pretty much bursting at the seams. �? �? �? What I witnessed would tell me those are the three largest sessions,â�? Vlasman said. â�?�? I donâ�?�?t know if that has anything to do with job trends, or forecasting job openings right now, but of the 22 sessions, I think those were the most well-attended today.â�? �? �? �? â�?�?They all had good attendance,â�? Yutrzenka said. â�?�?Todayâ�?�?s young people really showed a wide range of interest in a variety of health professions. I think there were some who were looking at specific things, but there were many students who wanted to see what was available, and what kinds of professions they may find appealing. �? �? �? â�?�?One of the things we wanted to do is give them a broader brush of understanding what these programs are all about,â�? he said.