High school students become Forces for Health at Health Professions Institute

Juniata College’s renown for graduating health professionals is a reason many students choose to spend their college years in Huntingdon. With new curriculum and programs that focus on population health and preventive medicine, aspiring health professionals are guaranteed to be well prepared for a career in the healthcare field.

With Juniata’s first annual Health Professions Institute (HPI), which ran from July 8 to July 12, 2018, the youngest cohort of future surgeons, veterinarians, hospital administrators, and more gathered in Huntingdon, PA to learn about the evolving healthcare industry and how, as high school students, they could immediately make their communities healthier.

“A lot of young people who want to be doctors think they have to wait to finish med school to make a difference in the world,” says Madison Hearn, a current Juniata student who plans on attending medical school herself. “We want to show these high school kids that they can start helping people be healthy right now. They don’t need an advanced degree to make an impact.”

Madison’s statement echoes the theme of one of the workshops the HPI attendees participated in, which allowed the students to learn about population health’s role in improving the efficiency of the healthcare system in the United States. The students also got to practice addressing the real health issues that they identified in their communities with the guidance of Juniata students and Dr. Rob Gillio, the Medical Director of JC Blair Hospital’s population health initiative.

“I was so impressed with the ideas these kids came up with,” Dr. Gillio says of the workshop. “They were able to design real solutions for real issues in less than hour with people they had just met. Imagine what they could do back in their own communities!”

The students left the workshop excited about taking their ideas back to their schools and families. “Being successful in the medical field is about taking initiative, and these students definitely showed some leadership,” Dr. Gillio remarks. “I can’t wait to see everything they accomplish.”

 

For more information about Juniata College’s health profession curriculum, click here.

For more information about the Force for Health initiative, click here.

Want to start your own Force for Health Team or project? Click here.

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