Medical school launches high school academy shaking up healthcare careers – The GW Hatchet


Update: October 12, 2018 at 10:25 am

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences launched a new program this month to engage high school students in the medical field.

The Governor’s Health Sciences Academy – which was first announced last fall – will allow students from disadvantaged backgrounds at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., To participate in an educating dual-enrollment magnetic program students on medicine and giving them the opportunity to obtain university degrees. credit. Officials said the academy, which has secured funding for at least five years, could help address healthcare shortages in Washington and foster a more diverse community of students entering the medical field.

The program was officially launched after a groundbreaking ceremony at the high school on Friday, attended by medical school, university president Thomas LeBlanc and the governor of Virginia.

Reamer Bushardt, senior associate dean for health sciences, said GW’s partnership with the high school will allow between 100 and 150 students each year to begin their high school health science studies and continue their undergraduate studies. before moving on to medical school.

The program allows students to earn up to 18 college credits and also guarantees admission to GW Medical School for an undergraduate program. The agreement between the medical school and the public schools of Alexandria City committed the two schools to manage the academy for five years.

“The main goals of the academy are to help students identify a career path in health care that matches their personal aspirations, strengths and individual talents, and then to support their success in the educational pipeline.” , Bushardt said in an email.

Bushardt said that in addition to GW’s contribution to the academy, the federal government is also supporting the initiative with a $ 3.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

He said the grant will help the program support economically and educationally disadvantaged students by providing scholarships and stipends to continue their education under the National Ambassador Program of the Health Career Opportunities Program. .

Eric Lee | Hachette photographer

Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, said the program would solve the shortage of health professionals in the DC area.

Bushardt said DC is also experiencing a shortage of medical professionals, a disparity that he says prompted the academy to be established.

“A more diverse healthcare workforce produces better patient outcomes and brings us closer to health equity,” he said. “Racial and ethnic alignment between patients and healthcare professionals is associated with better access to care, improvements in patient compliance, and a more supportive patient and family experience. “

Bushardt added that one of the main goals of the academy is to educate students about “cultural competency” and to help students develop skills that will help them address health equity in their future positions. health professionals. He said that thanks to the governor’s academy, students will be able to take courses that address health equity issues, including courses in communication skills, community engagement and health promotion.

“Health equity, or the achievement of the highest standard of health for all, is an elusive challenge and must become an imperative within American health care if we are to have a healthy and prosperous society,” a- he declared.

University rector Thomas LeBlanc, who spoke at the ceremony, said GW is committed to striving “for preeminence in all our endeavors.” He added that he hopes students will continue their education and research at GW, where they are guaranteed to be admitted after graduation.

“It is clear that this region is a hub for innovation, problem solving and the resolution of society’s most complex problems,” LeBlanc said at the event. “Today, with the start of this Governor’s academy, we begin the process of meeting the challenge of the healthcare workforce.”

Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, said the program will solve the shortage of health professionals in the DC area, and he hopes to expand the program to more schools in the future.

“That’s why it’s such a good program at TC Williams in Alexandria, and I think it can be a model for a state,” he said at the event.

Elizabeth Vickrey Lodal, a member of the Virginia Board of Education, said the program will not only allow students to serve their community, but will also help students discover a potential career path in the medical field.

“It will give hundreds, if not thousands of young people a new vision of what they can become and how they can serve a larger community and really learn skills from the best professionals and be exposed to a university at the same time, ”she said in an interview.

Vickrey Lodal said the program enables students to see beyond the need to ‘enrich themselves’ in their profession and focus on the greater impact of improving communities and helping people in the need.

“The students in this program hope to earn a good income, but they’re not there just to get rich,” she said. “They are here to enrich the community as a whole, because of the experience they have in this school.”

This post has been updated to reflect the following clarification:
Wording has been added to this section to clarify that students who have completed the high school program are guaranteed admission to an undergraduate program in medical school.


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