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High school students learning about health careers (9/8/97)

Hundreds of high school students from Brownsville to Laredo spent part of their summer learning about health careers and science thanks to support from the South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative.

In Edinburg, 90 high school students from Starr and Hidalgo counties graduated from the Utterly Incredible Science Academy, a series of three learning camps held at The University of Texas-Pan American.

The camps lasted four days and concentrated on chemistry, physics and advanced biology. Each camp was designed for students taking these science subjects this fall. "It helps them prepare for the subjects that are important if they pursue any health career," said Yvonne May-Kautsch, coordinator of the sponsoring Rio Grande Valley Med-Ed Program.

Med-Ed students also had other things going. About 150 worked as volunteers in McAllen-area hospitals. Four of them even played "casualties" in a mock emergency drill at Edinburg Regional Medical Center.

Twenty students from Brownsville's Hanna High School of Technology for Medical and Health Professions attended a three-day M*A*S*H program organized by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Area Health Education Center's Health Careers Opportunities Program. M*A*S*H is short for Medical Applications of Science for Health.

Another M*A*S*H was held for high school students from McAllen, Mission, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, San Benito and Weslaco school districts.

"M*A*S*H provides opportunities for the high school students to integrate science skills learned in the classroom with the health sciences in a professional setting," said Mariza Saenz, health careers program coordinator.

The students toured hospitals and clinics, received career advice from professionals in the health fields, and got to talk with visiting medical students from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Students even received certification in CPR.

In Laredo, 160 seventh graders joined a two-week enrichment camp in health, science and mathematics. The camp was free and open to students from United and Laredo school districts.

"The students had some fantastic 'hands-on' experiences," said Candy Hein, coordinator for the United district. Ten teachers from the school districts led the camp, called Health Outlook for Two School Districts, or "H20."

Topics ranged from anatomy and physics to chemistry and molecular geometry. The students, accepted in the camp based on their good academic standing, entered the eighth grade this month.

Besides the enrichment programs, help from the South Texas/Border Region initiative allowed more than 70 high school students to travel to San Antonio for weeklong programs about college and biomedical careers. The students came from South Texas High School for the Health Professions in Mercedes, the Rio Grande Valley Med-Ed Program, and Laredo's high schools.

Contact: Jim Barrett (210) 567-2570