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Feb. 4, 2015

New Health Careers Pipeline helps students explore future professions

Students from Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Health, Sciences and Technology in Grand Rapids have an opportunity to explore future health careers through a partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

The eight-week Health Careers Pipeline offers students engaging opportunities to learn about new career paths and ways to improve their own wellness, while building confidence in their intellectual strengths and inspiring them to pursue a college education.

"This new Health Careers Pipeline partnership is further evidence of the community aligning and coming together with the school district and our students to improve academic outcomes," said Teresa Weatherall Neal, superintendent of the Grand Rapids Public Schools. "It is also yet another reason why Innovation Central High, with its four Centers of Innovation, is one of the fastest growing schools in the region.”

Each Wednesday after school, students are transported to MSU College of Human Medicine’s Secchia Center where mentors, including GVSU health sciences and MSU medical students, interact with participants in their learning activities.

“GVSU is pleased to be part of the inaugural pipeline program to provide the opportunity for Grand Rapids Public High School students to explore careers, have access to healthcare mentors, and select courses that provide exploration of their career interests,” said Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for health at the university.

The first group in the program includes nine students, grades 10-12, with plans to expand the groups by grade next year. Weekly sessions include dinner and mentor time, guest speakers from the health professions, health science field trips, and small group learning on specific health topics.

“This program will expose these high school students to the health professions in a hands-on way that is meaningful to them,” added Wanda Lipscomb, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and associate dean for student affairs in the MSU College of Human Medicine. “Ultimately we hope their interactions and bonds with the college and medical school mentors will help these young people envision themselves one day in college pursuing a health career.”

By: Geri Kelley