High school, college students to get introduction to health careers at statewide UMass Medical School leadership conference

March 29, 2016

About two hundred high school and college students from across the state will gather for a hands-on look at careers in health care at the 2016 MassAHEC HOSA State Leadership Conference April 2 at UMass Medical School.

The seventh annual conference in Massachusetts will feature 30 competitive events, speed networking with about 20 health professionals, seven presentations and 13 hands-on stations. A panel discussion about the field of psychology and its related professions, including psychiatry, outpatient and primary care psychology, health psychology and forensic psychology, will be presented by Brian Potts, PsyD, LMH, CSAC, BCIA, Beth Briggs, PsyD, and Liana Shelby, PsyD. 

The conference is hosted by the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center Network (MassAHEC), part of the Center for Health Policy and Research, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division. HOSA, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, is a national organization endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

“The MassAHEC HOSA State Leadership Conference connects students with health careers and professions. It provides a unique experience where students have the opportunity to interact with health care professionals who are there to answer all their questions,” said Jaime F. Vallejos, MD, MPH, Health Careers Pipeline program manager and statewide advisor of MassAHEC HOSA.

“It also helps strengthen the academic-community partnership by participating in the development of tomorrow’s health care professionals,” Dr. Vallejos said.

The hands-on stations will provide a variety of learning – and fun – activities in such areas as veterinary medicine, dental science, prosthetics and orthotics, respiratory therapy, paramedicine, medical research, medical assisting and nursing. Students will learn how to assess patients and test reflexes, and how to use a defibrillator and electrocardiogram in a simulated coding emergency. The activities will be led by health professionals and students from UMass Memorial Health Care, UMass Medical School and Graduate School of Nursing, Becker College, Quinsigamond Community College and Sunrise Prosthetics & Orthotics of Worcester. Sai Cherala, MD, MPH, a senior clinical analyst in the Office of Healthcare Innovation and Quality within Commonwealth Medicine, and students from UMass Amherst will demonstrate the proper technique for and importance of thorough hand washing in the clinical setting.

Presentations include current and relevant topics in health care delivered by local authorities and colleagues such as Worcester Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mattie Castiel, MD, and MassHealth Dental Director Donna Jones, DMD, MPH.

MassAHEC HOSA, which has increased statewide access to educational opportunities in health care to hundreds of high school and college students, works to develop leadership and technical skills for future health professionals.