300 High School Students Headed to UM as Part of Health Science State Conference

March 04, 2016

MISSOULA – Missoula will host the 12th annual Montana HOSA: Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference, on Monday and Tuesday, March 21-22, at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown.

This year’s conference theme is “Big Sky Big Dreams,” and more than 300 Montana high school students will compete in 30 health-science-skills events to qualify for the International HOSA Leadership Conference that will be hosted in June in Nashville, Tennessee.

Montana HOSA: Future Health Professionals prepares students for college and the workforce by providing them real world application of academic subjects, giving students leadership and career opportunities and getting students involved in their communities through service work. It is one of seven Montana career and technical student organizations partially funded through Montana House Bill 86.

Montana HOSA’s mission is especially critical when considering the acute shortage of qualified workers for Montana’s health care industry. High school membership in Montana HOSA surpassed 500 this year, and 94 percent of Montana HOSA high school seniors who graduated in 2015 enrolled in postsecondary education.

The University of Montana, Missoula College UM and local health professionals will judge 30 competitive events with topics that range from biomedical debate to sports medicine. Online test scores are averaged with skill performance to determine medal winners.

Jane Baker, a Wise River resident and former interim dean of Missoula College, will deliver the conference keynote address. The first day of conference will feature a vendor expo and four on-site symposia: resistance training led by Mark Puddy of the Missoula Police Department, pig heart dissections led by medical residents of the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana,Health Literacy “Project Share” led by Ronan HOSA students, and leadership games led by HOSA state officers.

Following morning competitive events on Tuesday, March 22, students will travel to UM’s campus, where they will break into teams of 15 and attend several of the 60 symposia being hosted by faculty, staff and students of UM’s Health and Medicine initiative. Symposia topics will include biomedical engineering, diversity awareness, neurology, nursing, respiratory therapy, health and  human performance, biochemistry, speech pathology, physical therapy biomechanics, psychology, health informatics, pharmacy, athletic training, laboratory technology, social work, surgical technology and forensics.

Funding for the annual conference is provided through organization affiliation and support from the Montana State Fund, NorthWestern Energy, Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Bozeman Health, The Goodman Group, Missoula Bone & Joint, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, ALPS, The Student Assistance Foundation, Community Medical Center, Western Montana Clinic and the UM Office of the President Excellence Fund.

For more information call Martha Robertson, Montana HOSA director, at 406-243-4746 or email martha.robertson@mso.umt.edu

Contact: Martha Robertson, Montana HOSA director, 406-243-4746, martha.robertson@mso.umt.edu.