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Casting the Net for Tomorrow's Healthcare Workers

Ohio State has developed several programs to excite young people about futures in medicine, programs that encourage interest in the fundamentals of academic medicine – science and mathematics – and that expose them to medical scenarios.

“Many high school students do not realize the amount of dedication and time required for medical school,” says Jinna Deslandes, a 2006 participant in MD Camp, Ohio State’s intensive, three-week summer day camp that exposes students to suturing, drawing blood, performing CPR, viewing surgeries and cadavers. The program is available to minority and low-income high school upperclassmen interested in health science careers. The goal is to increase the number of physicians who practice medicine in underserved areas.

Deslandes now majors in molecular genetics at Ohio State. “Becoming a physician was already in my head; it was just a question of how to get there,” she says. “Through MD Camp, I built a strong support system. It helps me to remember that, though I may be a minority, I’m not alone.”

Ohio State’s College of Medicine also coordinates the Math & Science Club, a free club for youth interested in math and science, in partnership with the University’s Community Extension Center on Columbus’ East side, and the College of Math and Physical Sciences. Through the club, Ohio State hopes to increase the number of academically gifted students who select careers in health care.

The Medical Center also partners with area high schools to organize healthcare-themed field trips and events for students who excel in health sciences.