High school students learn about health careers through SEARHC program

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010

SITKA - Few people get to see real emergency room doctors in action, be with operating room staff during surgery or even watch a dentist performing a root canal. Alaska Native high school students from Southeast Alaska can experience these and other opportunities when they participate in the Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program.

Each year, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium selects a minimum of 12 Southeast Native students interested in health careers for VHOP, and they spend a week at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka to learn about different health careers and educational requirements. Positions in these fields usually offer good pay and employee benefits.

This year's VHOP session is scheduled for April 19-23, with travel dates being April 18 and 24. Students who are selected to participate receive assistance to cover the travel costs to and from Sitka, housing, meals and some evening entertainment.

"The goal of the program is to expose Native students from rural Southeast communities to a vast array of health career opportunities," SEARHC Tribal Recruitment Coordinator Romee McAdams said. "Students will 'job shadow' with doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians and many other health professionals." The experience enables students to evaluate their own strengths and decide which jobs might best suit them.

The application deadline is March 22. Completed applications may be mailed to Romee McAdams at SEARHC, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at high school offices, at local village corporations or by going to http://www.searhc.org/vhop/.

VHOP is sponsored by SEARHC and funded by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority through the Alaska Center for Rural Health. VHOP stresses hands-on experience and job shadowing as ways to immerse students in the health care environment at the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. For more information, contact Romee McAdams at 1-907-966-8476 or at romee.mcadams@searhc.org. VHOP applications also can be scanned and e-mailed to McAdams.

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