How to get kids interested in health care careers: a hands-on camp that’s absolutely free
Arizona State University has found a truly accessible way to develop the health care workforce of the future
Since the camp began in 2014, donors have embraced its mission to inspire passion in highly motivated students who want to have an impact on the health of their communities.
For the students, it’s a week filled with life-changing experiences. They get a glimpse of college life by living in dorms at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus, gain hands-on experience in lab settings, and make valuable contacts in the health care field.
The first class of Summer Health Institute participants has been followed by six more; a total of 194 high school seniors exploring careers in the health care fields.
The students learn about all types of health professions — not just nursing and medicine — such as dentistry, physical therapy, optometry, health care administration and research. Throughout the week, they interact with volunteers whose specialties span the health care sector and even get to attend and participate in an actual physician assistant class — an extremely rare opportunity.
In order for Summer Health Institute to be truly impactful, it would need to be accessible to students from all backgrounds.
Over the past six years, 45% of participants reported that they were the first in their family to pursue higher education, 45% qualified for free or reduced lunch, and 28% had an annual household income below $30,000.
Thanks to donor support, the camp is completely free for all participants.
Co-creator and instructor for the Summer Health Institute Nate Wade, who also serves as senior director for the College of Health Solutions, is thrilled with the success of the program and grateful for the generosity of donors.
“Philanthropy from businesses and individuals is vital to the program’s success. We were very intentional about the design of the program from its inception, and our top priority was to ensure that cost of attendance would never be a deterrent for any participant selected as a finalist. This camp wouldn’t be possible without philanthropy.”
Originally published in the fall 2019 issue of Impact magazine.
About ASU Foundation
The foundation, a subsidiary of ASU Enterprise Partners, is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University. It is one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits.
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