Missoula MedStart Offers Weeklong Student Immersion Camp

June 05, 2018

MISSOULA – Dissecting pig hearts, practicing wilderness medicine skills, making ice cream at GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals, concocting native herbal salves, mixing aspirin and job shadowing at 15 Missoula health facilities are just some of the activities 26 Montana high school juniors and seniors will participate in as part of Missoula MedStart.

The event is a weeklong, health science immersion camp hosted Sunday through Thursday, June 10-14, at the University of Montana. This is the eighth year UM’s Western Montana Area Health Education Center has hosted the program, which gives preferential acceptance to rural, disadvantaged, first-generation college, ethnically diverse students.

To date, 180 students have completed the program, and 94 percent of attendees have gone on to college. Western Montana AHEC hosts the healthcare career awareness program as part of its mission to connect students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health.

Although health care has been one of the state’s fastest-growing industries, with a compounding employment growth rate of 2.8 percent annually since 1990, Montana rural communities struggle to recruit and retain qualified health professionals.

Missoula MedStart is one of five summer MedStart programs hosted in Montana.  Montana AHEC regional offices also host MedStart camps in Billings, Butte, Great Falls and Miles City.

One day of Missoula MedStart is spent on campus with UM Health & Medicine faculty, staff and graduate students who offer workshops in forensics, chemistry, psychology, pharmacy, biomechanics and social work.

Danica Luedtke with the Salish Kootenai College Dental Assisting Technology program will host a session in dental assisting, and UM chemistry Professor Emeritus Garon Smith – also known as G. Wiz – will return to campus to host his notorious magic show.

Parents join students on the last morning of camp to participate in college readiness seminars on mapping career pathways, financial aid and scholarships, the college essay and student money management.

Missoula MedStart is made possible in part through a grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation and through support from CVS Health, Montana Gear Up, Jobs for Montana Graduates, Clark Fork Valley Hospital, Kalispell Regional Hospital, St. Luke Community Healthcare, North Valley Hospital, Valley Oak and the Goodman Group.

For more information contact program coordinator Martha Robertson at 406-243-4746 or email martha.robertson@mso.umt.edu.

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Contact: Martha Robertson, program coordinator, 406-243-4746, martha.robertson@mso.umt.edu.