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Davis Journal

Program sets high school students on path to healthcare professions

Jan 12, 2023 11:31AM ● By Becky Ginos

LAYTON—How often does a high school student get the chance to practice suturing on a pig’s foot, put in an IV or do intubation on a lifelike manikin while receiving college credit? HTHA 2910 Health Information Literacy, Healthcare System & Career Exploration does just that. It is a four credit hour college course taught at the Weber State University Davis Campus and delivered through the Northern Utah Area Health Education Center (NUAHEC) Medical Scholars program. It is an experiential program that prepares students to take their place in the future healthcare workforce. It also satisfies the Information Literacy and research skills, a general education requirement.

“These are great young folks,” Instructor Frederick Henderson, MHA Northern Utah Area Health Education Center Director Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions Weber State University said of his last class. “They’ve worked so hard. We want to make the high school transition to college as smooth as possible. Kids can have a 4.0 and still struggle in college.”

Students learn about a career in healthcare, he said. “It gives them a step ahead of the competition and gives them a leg up. It’s very competitive in healthcare programs. They only take the best applicants. It’s only for seniors and they have to maintain a GPA consistent with program track acceptance of 3.7 and above.”

The course consists of lectures and hands-on practice, said Henderson. “They love using their suturing kit and doing IVs and putting a tube inside a patient’s throat so they can breathe. At the end of the course we hold an open house where everything is set up so the students can show their parents what they’ve learned.”

Henderson said they have Wildcat Card day where they give the kids a student ID and take them to the bowling alley and get pizza. “It’s a way to motivate them and get them pumped up for the next four years of education.”

It’s a grant sponsored program through the federal Health and Human Services, he said. “We’ve also received generous funding from the legislature. It’s been a collaborative partnership. We couldn’t do it any other way.”

They built the program with the Davis School District, Henderson said. “The state board, CTE director, teachers and superintendents all jumped on board to make the program what it is.”

Henderson started at Weber in 2002 when he went to get a degree. “I was a firefighter then became a paramedic,” he said. “I went into Health Administration and was offered a job at Weber to teach. I got a master’s in Health Administration because I wanted to be the best teacher I could offer.”

The students in his class are incredibly dedicated, he said. “They know what they want to do. This sets the standard of young people. I’m blessed to have landed in this perfect situation.”