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Middle School MedChamps Camp Students Dive in to Health Care

Last week 14 youth from across Southwest Oregon came together at Umpqua Community College to explore the world of health occupations in Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon's (AHECSW) first ever “MedChamps” middle school camp. The goal of this camp was to expose middle school students to various health professions and help them find potential careers to work toward. Those involved interacted with professionals from different areas of healthcare through engaging hands on activities.

The week began with a dental career presentation and laboratory led by representatives from Dr. Alanson Randol’s office and the Mercy Foundation. This was followed by a day centered on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, with an energizing Zumba dance class and a presentation from Umpqua Community Veg Education Group (UC-Veg).

Students then delved into the basics of microscopy and histology with pathologist, Dr. Claire Stone, and heard from veterinarian, Dr. Christy Cutting, about exciting aspects of the animal world. This busy day ended with the campers cooling off in the pool, after learning about river and pool water safety of course!

After taking in some gnarly narratives and stirring stories from a variety of careers, the campers were able to sort through their experiences with career exploration activities guided by Umpqua Training and Employment UT&E).

The camp concluded with a riveting rat dissection and a dramatic Diagnosis Day with the UCC paramedic program. Campers got to try out a number of emergency medical procedures, from suturing to intubating!

Andrew Dubie, a seventh grade camper, shared that, “the hands on experience was great. I really feel that I learned a lot and would like to be a part of this next year.”

Even though the Middle School camp has ended, those of us at AHECSW are excited for the month of July, which will include two more camps, both oriented towards high school aged students. Highlights of these camps include working with airlift paramedics and a three-day excursion to visit OHSU in Portland.

AHECSW would like to thank professionals from the community for their part in inspiring our local youth to continue to learn and grow. Additionally, we would like to thank Douglas County Partners for Student Success (DCPSS) for their partnership with us and help in gathering funding for the camp.

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