AURORA, Colo. – Over the past nine years, middle and high school students, along with their parents, from across the area have been welcomed as part of The Health Professions Opportunity Day (hPod).
For this year’s event, 177 middle and high school students, along with 95 of their parents visited labs to meet with our students and faculty. “The purpose of the program,” said Christian Valtierra, assistant director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, “is to expose youth to health professions through hands-on workshops as well as showcase the facilities at the Anschutz Medical Campus.”
This year the Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with the Center for Pre-Collegiate and Academic Outreach Programs. As it turns out, all of this year’s student attendees participate in one of these pre-collegiate programs.
Volunteers from the Pre-Colligate and Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP) helped to facilitate and work with the young students. The day kicked off with keynote speaker Chisom Agbim, a first-year student in the CU School of Medicine, who had been a pre-collegiate student herself during high school at Aurora’s Hinkley High School.
Other current CU students in these programs: Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Doctor of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, School of Public Health and Dental Medicine also welcomed the young students in sessions focused on medical-related career choices.
The young students also got some ‘hands-on’ time learning how to take blood pressure, clean teeth and even dissecting cow eye balls. The workshops were designed to help participants experience ‘a day in the life’ of a clinician.
For the parents attending, there were two workshops that provided information about resources to support their child. The first session was Health Disparities/Cultural Awareness and the second was ‘tips’ for the overall college-seeking process.
The activities wrapped up with “Molina Speaks” by Adrian Molina, a spoken-word poet who shared a message about education and that by “believing in yourself, you can accomplish anything.”
“This year’s hPod event was very successful,” said Valtierra, who assisted with the program for the past three years, “we got really positive feedback, and this one is my favorite so far!”