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Creating PATHS to Health Careers

Creating PATHS to Health Careers

Columbus-area high school students learning about nutrition careers at PATHS2 Academy offered by Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions. The nutrition session was made possible through a partnership with Nestle’s Product Technology Center in Marysville, Ohio.

This summer, 105 students ranging from 10 th -12 th grade, were immersed in three days of workshops, question-and-answer sessions and hands-on experiences to gain knowledge of careers focused on health sciences and professions.

The Professions Aligned Towards Health Sciences and Human Services (PATHS 2 ) Academy is hosted each summer by the Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions and Columbus State Community College. This year, the free camp was held from June 13-15 and June 25-27 at the Ohio University Dublin extension campus.

“The College of Health Sciences and Professions has a long history of providing youth outreach and leveraging partnerships for greater impact. PATHS 2 Academy is a great example of this as we partner with Columbus State Community College to not only expose young people to a variety of healthcare careers but also to the many educational pathways,” said Ginny Valentin, senior director for central Ohio programs and partnerships for Ohio University. “We’re able to provide this outreach for free because of the many faculty, staff, students and external partners that volunteer their time to make this experience possible.”

The 105 students in attendance hailed from 30 high schools in seven central Ohio counties. A number of community partners contributed to the academy’s success. Eight staff members from Nationwide Children’s Hospital sent a team of healthcare professionals representing radiology, sports medicine, physical therapy and laboratory medicine. Nestle’s Product Technology Center in Marysville, Ohio sent a senior wellness specialist and food scientist along with materials for a nutrition and product development session that included different types of milk, flavors of syrup, instant coffee and samples of Peruvian chocolate milk. Five staff members from Mount Carmel Health’s stroke outreach team taught students about the importance of early recognition and treatment while SimplyThick, Sam’s Club, Costco, Bibibop and Chick-Fil-A provided food and session supplies for students. A $2,000 grant was also donated by the Union County Foundation.

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital was pleased to work with Ohio University to add a pediatric component to PATHS 2 Academy,” said Marcie Rehmar, director of community education. “Exposure to a wide range of career options is important for young people. It allows them to explore future career opportunities that might or might not interest them.”

The activities and interactive sessions were led by faculty, staff and students from both sponsoring colleges as well as those from the University of Findlay School of Pharmacy and local healthcare professionals and field experts. A few of the favorite sessions included anatomy instruction, working with a human cadaver, learning how to intubate, the use of various manual therapy equipment, demonstrations on wound care and blood pressure and simulations of balance issues, limb heaviness and partial loss of sight that are common in stroke patients. 

For students like Nanyeli Baez Carreno, PATHS 2 Academy was both an eye-opening and affirming experience.

A future career in healthcare has long been a goal for Nanyeli, a senior from Westerville. Born in the Dominican Republic, she and her family immigrated to the United States when she was two years old. In an essay sent to the academy, Nanyeli wrote, “Where we came from, it was uncommon to hear ‘what do you want to be when you grow up,’ and instead, the females in my family were expected to play a defined role. I distinctly remember being flustered in my first-grade class when my teacher asked what I wanted to be and in my confusion I blurted out that I wanted to be a realtor. To this day, I still don’t know why I said that.”

Nanyeli’s mother worked in clinics and hospitals as a receptionist and her sister is a medical assistant. Her own passion for medicine has driven her desire to become a physician’s assistant.

“When I was first introduced to the career, it enthralled me. I had finally found what I truly wanted to be,” Nanyeli wrote. After experiencing the PATHS 2 Academy, she was not disappointed.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “We learned a lot about different professions. I just thought everything about it was cool and awesome.”

Nanyeli likened the academy to the first day of school. “No one really talked to each other at first but soon everyone opened up and got comfortable. Everyone was super nice and the instructors were really interactive,” she said. “I think everyone found what they wanted to be. If you really want to be in medicine, it’s a good place to start. I’d go back if I could.”

Nanyeli’s experiences were not unique and many of the camp participants excitedly shared what they learned with family and friends.

“I just wanted to thank you and your staff very much for the camp you put on. My daughter had an amazing time. It was a wonderful experience for her to learn from people that were so passionate about their careers,” wrote one mother.

“My daughter was accepted to the PATHS 2 Academy for summer 2018 and I wanted to express how much she thoroughly enjoyed the program,” wrote another. “I am so grateful as a mother for the experiences and information my daughter received. She loved every moment!”