May 30, 2017

North Central Indiana AHEC summer program exposes high school students to the field of health care

vazquez AHEC High school students learned about the structure of gluten with a hands-on experiment in the Department of Nutrition Sciences during the 2016 AHEC summer program. (Purdue University photo/Stephanie Farlow) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The fourth annual North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center Discover Healthcare summer program will take place June 5 and 6 at Purdue University.

The North Central Indiana AHEC works to increase the representation of minority and disadvantaged students in health professions, prepare them to serve in rural or medically underserved communities and increase health professionals’ access to educational opportunities. The AHEC summer program teaches participating students about the partnership between Purdue and Indiana University.

“The goal is to encourage a hands-on look into health care careers that high school students might not have considered and inform them of the next steps in the education process for those careers,” said Stephanie Farlow, career development specialist in the College of Health and Human Sciences and the AHEC contact. “Our focus is on exposing the high school students to professionals and current students in these health care areas while visiting the West Lafayette campus.”

While at Purdue, the students will participate in hands-on activities including a gluten lab experiment, compounding aloe vera gel lab, hearing tests and glucose tests. The visiting students also will tour the vet school, athletic training facilities, research laboratories and Miller Child Development Laboratory. Participating Purdue units include the College of Health and Human Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Veterinary Medicine. Students also participated in laboratory tours and a simulated medical scenario with a computerized mannequin thanks to representatives from the Indiana University School of Medicine-West Lafayette.

Sixty-five percent of AHEC trainees from underrepresented minority and disadvantaged backgrounds have matriculated into post-secondary training. There are 3,164 statewide AHEC alumni now practicing as health professionals, including dental hygienists, dentists, mental health professionals, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants and registered nurses.

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders,

Sources: Stephanie Farlow, Career Development Specialist in the College of Health and Human Sciences,

Jeremy Ashcraft, North Central Indiana AHEC director,

Janiece Stover, North Central Indiana AHEC program coordinator,

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