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High School Exploration Camp Students Travel the World of Medicine

Over the past couple of weeks, High School students from Douglas County convened at Umpqua Community College to engage in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) “Exposure Camp” sponsored by AHECSW. The exposure camp was designed for students who were interested in a career in healthcare but not necessarily familiar with the opportunities to be found in rural medicine, with the goal of getting them excited about the possibility of a future in the medical field. The camp consisted of hands on activities with healthcare professionals, as well as an all expenses paid trip to Portland for three days.

The first week started off with a look into the puzzle solving world of lab careers with Pathologist Dr. Claire Stone and lab technicians from Mercy Medical. This was followed by some practical activities with IVs and blood draws (with dummies of course!). Many will remember trauma day as the most exhilarating as it not only involved hands-on activities but also a live demonstration from Douglas County Fire District #2 on cutting open vehicles and how to backboard!

For the less squeamish, cow eye ball dissection the next day was a blast; with students not only learning anatomy but also dissection techniques. After eyeballs, the human mouth was the focus of the campers, with members from the Mercy Foundation delivering an interactive presentation. Then the attention shifted from the mouth towards other health careers, as campers engaged in demonstrations on lifestyle medicine and nutrition from Dr. Charlie Ross and the Umpqua Community Vegetable Education Group (UC-Veg).

Following nutrition, Assistant Director of Imaging at Mercy Medical Center, Teresa Adams gave a presentation on Radiology with students learning about the main modules of imaging the human body. The first stage of camp then concluded with some everyday physical therapy tricks, as well as a presentation from Joe Falls and Roseburg’s sports medicine team.

Up next was the long anticipated trip to Portland, during which the campers joined forces with the Bright Works Oregon Academy group, which was also meeting during the previous week. After a drowsy 6am drive to the OHSU Waterfront Campus, campers got to participate in the Simulation labs, which included aspiring midwife, Makayla, getting to deliver a baby in a mind boggling 5 minutes! After a visit to the Dental School, campers went up “The Hill” to the Radiation Center, as well as Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, where the students got to visit the ICU and speak with Pediatricians from OHSU. After an exhausting day, students wound down with some bowling and pool before retiring to the Portland State University (PSU) dormitories.

Feeling well rested after a relatively lengthy 8 hours of sleep, students loaded onto the bus enroute to OHSU’s Primate Center, where they were given a tour of the facilities and a first hand look into primate research and ethical treatment. After stopping by Oregon State Univeristy (OSU) to learn about some exciting Marine Biology research, the campers arrived back in Roseburg just in time for dinner.

The conclusion of the Portland trip marked the end of AHECSW’s summer programming, but we are eager to begin our Fall curriculum which will include classes, as well as after school courses for Douglas County Schools! More information regarding these opportunities can be found at

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 show gratitude to numerous departments from Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University, and the National University of Natural Medicine for their welcoming and informative tours, presentations, and hands-on activities. We would also 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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