Maine AHEC Network Partnered with Local Organizations to Offer Health Career Camps

Maine AHEC Network partnered with local organizations Maine Access Immigrant Network, New Mainers Public Health Initiative, and Lewiston and Deering High Schools to offer two health career exploration camps this summer. The first three-day camp was held at Lewiston High School, and the second was held in Portland at the University of New England Campus.  A total of 36 students participated in the camp, with 18 students at each camp.  The majority of students (94%) were from New Mainer communities underrepresented in medicine (URiM). Faculty and students from the University of New England as well as iXplore STEM delivered a variety of hands on activities during the camps, with the same programming offered at each camp. 

The aim of the program is to give students an opportunity to learn about different health career pathways and to support them in understanding the steps towards following that pathway, with the long term goal of creating greater health equity by increasing the diversity of the health care workforce. Some of the activities included: a public health activity in which students designed their “ideal community”; a nursing activity using simulators to check blood pressure, pulse, and listen to breath sounds; a suturing activity; a simulation activity by UNE’s LEND program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities); a pharmacy activity in which students learned about compounding by making chap stick; a lesson on CPR; sheep brain dissection with UNE’s Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences; a lab activity that simulated learning how to test for viruses; and a presentation on the college admissions process.

These camps were funded by a Partnerships to Achieve Health Equity Grant from the Federal Office of Minority Health, the Fund for a Healthy Maine, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Health Resources, and the University of New England.