High school students spend their summer at UNMC

by Jo Giles, UNMC public relations | July 30, 2009

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Ten recent high school graduates, with average grade point averages of 3.5 or higher, take a break from teaching their peers about STD disease prevention. The students are summer interns with the College of Public Health's Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
Before they embark on their college health care courses, 10 Omaha high school graduates spent part of their summer learning from professionals at UNMC.

The students' home base is the College of Public Health's Center for Reducing Health Disparities' north Omaha office.

The summer program, organized by Ira Combs, has several components:

  • Education -- students learn about anatomy and basic research;
  • Practice -- students learn CPR and the importance of research to reduce health disparities; and
  • Community service -- students lead community workshops on health issues.

Program highlights on YouTube

Each week, the students created a video on what they've learned and their community service activities. The videos have been posted on YouTube.

"Our program recruits talented young people to give them an opportunity to get hands-on experience in health care careers," said Combs, community nurse liaison in UNMC's Center for Reducing Health Disparities in the College of Public Health. "We hope to provide for them a broad foundation and one-on-one mentoring to assist in their future goals."

In addition to shadowing experiences, students tackle a research problem, develop a program and write an IRB request. This summer, the students' focus is self-esteem and STDs. Their project includes prevention presentations on STDs for their peer group (12-19 yr. olds) in Douglas County.

Support for this program is provided by the UNMC Vice Chancellor for Research Office to stimulate the interest and participation of underrepresented minorities in UNMC research programs through the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Development Fund (NTSBRDF).