Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Fish Story Contest 🎣 Asa Hutchinson 2024 Today's Photos Public Notices Digital FAQ Razorback Sports Puzzles Crime Distribution Locations Obits
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Pathways teens make visit to UAMS

by Chris Carmody Special to The Commercial | March 25, 2023 at 2:32 a.m.
Students use dental molds to learn about the proper technique for handling plaque-removal tools Feb. 18 during the Pathways Academy College of Health Professions Day at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock. (Special to The Commercial/Chris Carmody/University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hosted high school students from Pathways Academy's Pine Bluff and Little Rock programs for a day of hands-on learning opportunities provided by the UAMS College of Health Professions.

Pathways Academy -- part of UAMS's Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion -- is an educational and community engagement program that focuses on preparing low-income and underrepresented students from kindergarten through 12th grade for opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health sciences (STEM-H) disciplines.

The Pathways Academy students gathered Feb. 18 on the UAMS campus in Little Rock to participate in activities that highlighted careers in medical laboratory science, dental hygiene, audiology and respiratory care.

James Ento, a sophomore at Pine Bluff High School, said students don't need to have medical-school aspirations to benefit from these networking and learning opportunities.

"Experiences like this open a lot of new connections, even if you don't want to pursue these careers in the future," he said.

At the respiratory care station, students practiced intubation and extubation on infant mannequins. They also tested an airway-clearance machine, which features a vibrating vest that breaks up mucus in patients' lungs.

Nicholas Tidwell, a junior at eStem High School in Little Rock, said the machine left him feeling as if someone were lightly and repeatedly tapping on his chest.

"It's a really weird feeling, but it's kind of fun to see how it helps people," he said.

Tom Jones, program director and assistant professor in the college, told the students that registered respiratory therapists work with doctors and nurses at the bedside of every patient, sometimes going unnoticed but always performing a vital role.

"If you want a career where you can make an immediate difference, then this might be a good place for you," he said. "If you can't breathe, then nothing else matters."

Richard Robinson, a UAMS graduate and dental hygienist at Arkansas Family Dental, guided scholars through a demonstration of the proper way to use plaque-removal tools. As the students practiced their technique on dental molds, Robinson encouraged them to choose their careers based on their interests instead of on their starting salaries.

"Find what you want to do, be passionate about it and be the best at it," he said.

Remeia Smothers, a junior at Pine Bluff High School, said the lesson had raised her interest in the field of dental hygiene.

"There's so much more to the medical field than just the doctors and nurses," she said.

Cherika Robertson, assistant professor in the college's Department of Laboratory Sciences, talked to the students about careers in medical laboratory science and led them in a simulation that showed the role of urinalysis in diagnosing patients.

"We're often the first to know the diagnosis, but we may not ever see the patient," she said.

In the audiology lesson, students learned about different types of hearing loss, tested the efficacy of hearing aids and viewed a demonstration on how ear molds are made.

Phyllis Fields, associate dean for student affairs in the college, said she is excited about the Pathways Academy program and its potential to open new possibilities for its scholars.

"I think today's event was a great opportunity for the scholars to learn more about some of the rewarding careers they can find in the health care field," she said.

Pathways Academy launched in 2022 with a series of summer camps that provided hands-on experiences in science, engineering and healthy living. Students have continued to take part in the program during the academic year, meeting for Saturday sessions that provide exposure to different health care careers. At a recent event, students discussed career opportunities with staff members and students from the UAMS College of Pharmacy.

Taylor Bagby, a junior at Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff, said the program has given her a better understanding of the options available for those who pursue careers in the medical field.

"We've had a lot of speakers who informed us about different career paths," Bagby said. "I think that is really helpful, giving us different options and keeping us open-minded. I don't feel like I'm closed off to one field."

Deriyon Graydon, a sophomore at Pine Bluff High School, said he's enjoyed seeing how medical professionals with different specialties can come together with the shared goal of improving their patients' health.

"I asked most of the speakers today about what led them to their specific fields," Graydon said. "Everybody said they're here because they like to help others. That makes a big difference, and I'm just thankful for the opportunity to learn all these aspects that I wouldn't have learned if I weren't in this program."

  photo  Remeia Smothers, a junior at Pine Bluff High School, tests an airway-clearance machine Feb. 18 during the Pathways Academy College of Health Professions Day at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock. "There's so much more to the medical field than just the doctors and nurses," she said of her experiences at the event. (Special to The Commercial/Chris Carmody/University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)
 
 
  photo  Students watch a demonstration showing how ear molds are made during the Pathways Academy College of Health Professions Day on Feb. 18 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock. (Special to The Commercial/Chris Carmody/University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)
 
 

Print Headline: Pathways teens make visit to UAMS

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT