Medical school aims to boost healthcare careers with new high school academy – The GW Hatchet

Virginia high school students will soon be able to take college health care courses designed by medical school professors under a new dual-enrollment program.

Professors from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences have worked with TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., over the past year to create a health academy that will educate high school students on topics related to the medical field. Officials say the program, which will launch next fall, aims to address a shortage of healthcare workers in the DC area and increase representation in the field.

Reamer Bushardt, senior associate dean for health sciences at SMHS, said the partnership will train students for high-demand healthcare jobs and enable them to earn college credit from GW or other schools in medicine while still in high school. He said the agreement between SMHS and Alexandria City Public Schools commits the two schools to run the academy for five years, but he hopes for a lasting partnership.

“My expectation and hope is that our two organizations will partner for many years beyond this, and this academy is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the innovative efforts we can accomplish together,” Bushardt said. in an email.

“Today’s healthcare workforce is not representative of American society.”

The academy will enroll between 100 and 150 students each year, and high school teachers will lead classes at TC Williams High School. Medical school faculty will help design the curriculum to ensure that courses meet GW standards and requirements established by the Virginia Department of Education.

Faculty from both schools are working to flesh out the curricula of seven potential vocational and technical education concentrations, including pharmacy, nursing, surgical technology, biomedical informatics, sports medicine, energy emergency medical services, and medical laboratory sciences, Bushardt said.

He said the program is designed to provide students with a number of options immediately after high school graduation, including work in entry-level health care positions. Students can also transfer to Northern Virginia Community College to receive an associate’s degree or transfer to SMHS through a Guaranteed Admissions Program, after already earning credit for a bachelor’s degree.

Students who apply and are accepted into the academy can earn up to 22 college credits from GW, as early as ninth grade, while meeting high school graduation requirements. Bushardt said accepted students will complete a summer bridging program, supported by the medical school, that will prepare them for the difficulty of college-level coursework.

SMHS has had a relationship with TC Williams High School since Qing Zeng, director of GW’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and professor of clinical research and leadership, worked with students on a project to create video games addressing health issues teenagers, Bushardt said. .

He said the academy “is an opportunity to increase the diversity and cultural competency of the healthcare workforce in our region.” TC Williams High School maintains one of the lowest counselor-to-student ratios in the nation and boasts a racially, economically and ethnically diverse population, he added.

“Today’s healthcare workforce is not representative of American society, and that defeats the ultimate goal of ensuring that every person in America has the opportunity to achieve their optimal health. “, did he declare.

“This will allow CSPA students to access college with credits and potential scholarships.”

Officials said the program was aimed at addressing a shortage of healthcare workers in Virginia, and DC Bushardt said the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, increased the number of patients with health insurance and that the demand for care had also increased.

Health care jobs are expected to grow 18% through 2026, adding about 2.3 million new jobs to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, Helen Lloyd, director of communications for Alexandria City Public Schools, said medical school faculty want to invest more in the future of medical staff.

“GWU sees this as an intellectual investment in the hope that CSPA students will enroll in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences upon completion of one of seven pathways,” he said. she stated.

She said that through the academy, officials hope to increase the number of industry certifications awarded to high school students and provide internships, mentorships, and clinical and co-op experiences.

“This partnership is incredibly positive,” she said. “This will allow CSPA students to access college with credits and potential scholarships. This will also enable GWU and CASP to contribute to the shortage of health workers in the region and the country.

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