June 8-12 marked the second annual Summer Health Careers Institute for Delta County's high school students. The program was offered to students by Delta County Joint School District, Delta County Economic Development and University of Colorado School of Medicine. This weeklong camp gave high school students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a rural health care environment.
At Delta County Memorial Hospital, students toured several departments, including radiology and cardiopulmonary. They shadowed physicians to learn about the different fields of medicine. They saw a family practice physician working in a clinic setting or observed an internist who specializes in cardiovascular stress tests. New this year was an additional focus on the field of nursing, both in the hospital and clinic settings.
Jason Cleckler, hospital CEO, was excited to bring this experience so close to home for high school students in Delta County.
"With all the health care reform, many medical students are moving on to specialized fields. However, there is a great need for primary care physicians and mid-level providers in rural areas, especially Delta County and the Western Slope. The shift in health care is to keep patients out of the hospital by providing preventative care and health and wellness through clinic-based providers. We want to expose Delta County students to the abundant career opportunities in rural medicine and hopefully impress upon them that small town health care can be very rewarding."
"Rural health is an important field," said Ryann Nickerson, CU Denver. "Rural folks face gaps around care due to the affordability of insurance, cost of care, convenience/access to care, and health care professionals to provide care."
The program is available to high school students ages 16-18. Applications are available through high school counselors.