MISSOULA – Thirty-five Thompson Falls High School freshmen and 58 Eureka Middle School eighth graders will travel to Kalispell on Thursday, April 24, to take part in the R.E.A.C.H. program hosted at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
R.E.A.C.H., which stands for Research and Explore Awesome Careers in Healthcare, was developed by the Montana Area Health Education Center in 2007. The Western Montana AHEC R.E.A.C.H. program provides an opportunity for students to have hands-on exposure to latest equipment, practices and procedures in the health care industry. Students will spend a full day at Kalispell Regional, where they will work in teams and rotate through a variety of departments for a close-up view of health care provider job duties, daily practice, policy and procedures, and the education and training required for the positions.
Monica Peterson, student program coordinator with KRMC, will choreograph the day’s events to include student activities at radiology, pathology, rehabilitation, lab, respiratory therapy, midwifery, emergency room and ALERT Air Ambulance. KRMC will host lunch for the students.
Kalispell Regional offers programs to local students in an effort to expose youth to the health care industry.
“Western Montana AHEC and Kalispell Regional are well aware that the health care workforce in Montana is a key component to the economic viability of the state, as well as a vital factor in sustaining the health of our rural communities,” Peterson said.
According to Western Montana AHEC, the largest industry in Montana exhibiting the fastest growing occupational job growth is health care, with an annual estimated vacancy rate of 1,300 positions. To fill these positions and meet this need, programs such as R.E.A.C.H. have been developed to give students early exposure to health care industry and the many health care career choices available.
Western Montana AHEC, located on the University of Montana campus, coordinates R.E.A.C.H. programs at hospitals throughout the seven-county western region of Montana. There are four Montana AHEC regional offices and a program office located on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman. R.E.A.C.H. is one of several K-12 Pipeline Programs that Montana AHEC provides to schools and communities throughout the state. The Pipeline Programs fulfill a portion of Montana AHEC’s mission to connect students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health.
Kalispell, Thompson Falls and Eureka-area media