Students from across the state explore career paths in health care

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Exploring Health Pathways Outreach Program is a part of a grant that the University of Mississippi Medical Center received to target primary care providers in rural areas.

Ethan Wilkins is a freshman at MUW pursuing a degree in medicine. He said he didn’t have an opportunity like this in high school – an up-close look at the options in health care.

“It would have helped me to be able to see the opportunities. To be able to see what was out there rather than what you see on the t.v. screen. All you see are doctors and surgeons but there is so much more and maybe that is a career you want to go into that you don’t even realize is out there until you go to an event like this,” said Wilkins.

Dozens of high school students got that chance Saturday at the Exploring Health Pathways Outreach Program at The W. They participated in six sessions that target specific areas in different healthcare fields.

UMMC Vice Dean of Medical Education, Dr. Loretta Jackson said it can be confusing figuring out which path is best for you and that they are here to guide students.

“We know that there are some individuals that are interested in health careers but they don’t necessarily know what needs to happen in order to go into a particular career. What kind of courses to take? If there are entrance exams, so we want to make sure we give up-to-date information regarding all of that so people aren’t having to figure it out, ” said Jackson.

The W’s school of nursing and health science programs are among the best in the region.

Biology Professor Dr. Nicole Welch said this event highlights what The W offers.

“It gives us a chance to showcase all of our pre-health profession majors on campus which are spread across all three of our colleges so the students today will get to learn about those as well as the programs they got to at UMCC afterward,” said Welch.

Dr. Welch said there is a growing need for healthcare workers and students at this event will one day be tomorrow’s leaders.

“I think it is wonderful that students are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn while they are in high school what they are going to need to do in college to be able to reach that goal,” said Welch.

If you missed out on Saturday’s program other colleges across the state will be hosting the event.

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