Our featured Innovation is Mercyhurst University's action packed one-week summer camps, spearheaded by
Dr. Linda Rhodes, that raise minority youth’s career expectations in health professions offering them a sense of
purpose and direction. They learn positive values of caring, integrity, and responsibility as part
of the values they will practice as a healthcare team member. Campers report having a more
positive view of their future and enjoy feeling “important” wearing scrubs and acting like a professional.
Healthcare employers enthusiastically support the program as it meets their need to create and hire
a more culturally diverse workforce that better represents the patients they serve.
· Research shows that middle school years present a pivotal opportunity for educators to
motivate students towards exploring a career path that provides them added incentive
to study through high school and be more engaged in their studies.
· Youth are exposed to high demand health care occupations in the fields of: nursing, respiratory, occupational, and physical therapy,
medical lab technology and emergency medicine (EMT) – via interactive, hands-on experience and clinical site visits.
· Students wear scrubs, official name badges and receive a professional stethoscope, along with printed materials, notebooks and pens,
t-shirts and a cinch bag all of which make up a “Camper’s Kit.”
· Campers work on human patient simulators, make site visits at hospitals and clinics, conduct medical histories of elderly residents at
Parkside Retirement Community and organize either a community “Health Fair” at the end of camp or present “Public Health
Newscasts” using video interviews they conduct on campus and a powerpoint presentation. Check out our video!
· Every student is provided door-to-door transportation to and from the university campus which has been credited towards
the very high attendance rate of the camps.
· Campers learn that health careers require practicing healthy behaviors, thus they engage in exercise programs and
self-awareness projects focusing on nutrition, the ill-effects of fast food, sugar and soda. They are advised as to what
courses to take in high school, how to prepare for a health care career and meet inspirational minority role models in
· Upon graduation, students are awarded a $2,000 scholarship to motivate them towards finishing high school. They may use it for any
nursing or allied health program at Mercyhurst University.
· The average cost of running a one-week camp for 25 students is $11,000. This includes two full-time co-camp counselors, recruitment,
lunches, field trip and home pick-up transportation, stipends for external instructors and camper’s kit materials. Corporate sponsors
defray the costs and Mercyhurst University provides free space, student nurses, pro bono faculty presentations to the students and
· Creating a partnership with a local community college or university that offers educational programs in the health professions willing to
sponsor the camps with in-kind support and corporate sponsors (e.g. hospitals, health insurance companies) and/or public sector
entities (e.g. workforce investment programs, Departments of Labor and Industry) to defray operational costs -- make for a viable
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