SEARHC Program introduces high school students to health careers

April 24 2014

SITKA – This week, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) welcomed sixteen Alaska Native/American Indian high school students from Alaskan communities to learn about health careers as they participate in the 2014 Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) taking place from April 21-25 in Sitka.

Each year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) selects several Southeast-area Native students interested in health careers for VHOP, and the students spend a week at the SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital learning about different health careers and educational opportunities. This year’s group is the largest to date and includes two students from Pacific High School in Sitka, two students from Klawock High School, two students from Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, and ten students from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. Two of the participants participated in the program previously.

“It has been a pleasure to have these students shadow social services staff,” said SEARHC Social Services Director Melonie Boord. “They have given us a boost of energy by allowing us to show and talk about our work with patients.”

The goal is to cultivate and encourage an interest in health care, and hope that a health career grows out of those efforts. The health field is growing, which means plenty of job opportunities for those with the right training. Additionally, health care related careers usually offer good pay and employee benefits, as well as the satisfaction of helping others.

Some of the activities for this year’s program include: Job shadowing with health care professionals at SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, hands-on activities with SEARHC dental staff that had students suturing bananas and reconstructing teeth out of clay, training at University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka which included blood typing and a tour of their newly remodeled Sitka campus and a barbecue. The program will conclude with a graduation ceremony.

For more information about VHOP, contact Louise Brady at 966-8903 or visit the VHOP webpage.