Sixteen local high school students got a glimpse of the wide variety of healthcare career options at Citizens Memorial Hospital’s MASH camp Thursday and Friday, July 11-12.
CMH partnered with Missouri State University’s Southwest Missouri Area Health Education Centers to host MASH — Missouri AHEC Science and Health Camp.
This is the 4th year MASH has visited Bolivar, and the 15th year of camps across the state. This summer, MASH will also be hosting camps in Joplin and Monett.
At the two-day camp, participants heard from a variety of different speakers and learned about a range of healthcare careers, from dentistry to radiology to pharmacy. The students also heard from Missouri State Rep. Ann Kelley, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Polk County Health Center.
MASH organizers and health care coordinators Trish Lavish and Heather Phillips say the main goal of the camp is early exposure.
“A lot of students have heard of nurses and doctors, but that’s the only experience they’ve had,” Phillips said. “It’s a way to expose them to all the other healthcare careers, especially the ones in high need.”
Lavish agreed that exposure is important and emphasized the interactive aspect of the camp.
“We introduce them to different professionals who are already practicing in those fields, where they can learn about that field,” she said. “They get to explore the career by doing hands-on activities. The camp is very interactive.”
Alongside the 16 students, seven public school educators attended the camp. The teachers are a part of an externship with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Lavish explained.
“These public school educators come to participate in the MASH camp for two days, and then they will come back with other educators from our other camps for a collaborative curriculum development day,” Lavish said. “There, they will get together and develop curriculum that they can take and use in their schools to help guide their students who have an interest in healthcare careers.”
This is the first year MASH has offered an externship program, and Lavish hopes it continues in the future.
Phillips explained how important it is to expose students to the wide range of careers in healthcare that aren’t always made known.
“They’re always needing more EMTs, more paramedics, more lab staff, more technicians … MASH is a way for them to get hands-on clinical experience really early, and even if they eventually do plan to go into medicine as a doctor, it’s a way for them to get that hands-on experience,” she said.