Health Careers Exploration Camp at UNE

During June 2022, Maine AHEC Network partnered with the New Mainers Public Health Initiative, Maine Access Immigrant Network and various health profession programs at the University of New England (UNE) to host a three-day overnight camp on the UNE Portland and Biddeford Campuses. Thirty high school students participated, including 23 students from the New Mainer community in Lewiston and Portland, and 7 students from rural Maine. Students participated in hands-on programming during the day at the University’s Portland Campus, and then spent the night in dorms on the Biddeford Campus in order to learn more about the college experience. Faculty and students from UNE as well as iXplore STEM delivered a variety of hands on activities during the camp. Examples of hands-on activities included students learning about careers in nursing, participating in a lesson on heart and lung function, learning to take blood pressure and pulse and listening to heart and lung sounds on a simulator. Additional example activities involved students drawing what their ideal healthy community looked like and discussing what public health efforts would support that, participating in a CPR demonstration, dissecting sheep brains, and making Chap Stick to demonstrate pharmaceutical compounding.  This year the camp also included an interprofessional case study that was referenced and built upon through-out the duration of the camp.

The camp is designed to give students an opportunity to learn more about potential career paths. The long term goal of the camp is to reduce health disparities for rural and underserved communities. One student shared how this camp changed their perspective on health careers by saying, “I learned a lot more about certain careers and learned about some new careers I didn’t know were a thing. It opened my eyes to new things and careers.”