Health Science and Technology Institute Starts Today

Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) - About 110 ninth-grade students from throughout West Virginia will visit Marshall University’s Huntington campus July 15-20 to take part in the annual Health Science & Technology Academy (HSTA) Summer Institute.

The students will be joined by eight HSTA teachers, four field site coordinators and Marshall faculty and staff in the “Fun With Science” summer institute, according to David Cartwright, director of the event.

“The HSTA students we will serve will be exposed to a variety of hands-on science experiences,” Cartwright said. “They will learn while enjoying being involved in experiments, simulations and activities. We at Marshall University will have the wonderful opportunity to expose these young people to our outstanding programs, such as professional health, allied health, science and engineering.”

HSTA is a highly successful academic and enrichment initiative designed to encourage high school students to enroll in college and pursue degrees in the health sciences. The program has paid off well for Marshall. Cartwright said that of the 150 HSTA graduates last year, about 50 are enrolled at Marshall.

“This statewide program chiefly aspires to enroll African American youth to offset the disparity of African Americans as professionals in related fields of study, while also targeting low-income and first-generation students,” Cartwright said.

Aaron McGuffin, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, said the HSTA program is important to the futures of the participating students and to Marshall University.

“The HSTA program is an essential outreach program for the School of Medicine as we continually seek to encourage the best and brightest students from throughout West Virginia to consider becoming West Virginia’s physicians of tomorrow,” McGuffin said.

Cartwright said several new health-related features are planned this year. One of the best, he said, is a Mobile Science Lab, a hands-on science laboratory in which an experiment to determine how caffeine affects the heart rate in a Zebra fish is conducted. The lab is set up in a semi-truck, which will be parked on campus near the Science Building Monday and Tuesday, July 16-17.

Also new this year are simulated laparoscopy surgery, a heart and suture lab, a safety engineering lab and the Montserrat Emergency Experience, in which students make up an emergency team on the “Island of Montserrat,” which is hit first by a hurricane, then by a volcano.

Students in the School of Medicine will be involved as well. According to Jo Ann Raines, SOM senior program coordinator, fourth-year medical students will help teach two workshops in the heart and suture lab.  They include a suturing workshop and a heartbeat workshop.  Students will use pigs’ feet to practice suturing and be introduced to Harry the Simulator for the heartbeat workshop.

“This is a wonderful outreach opportunity for the School of Medicine because it allows our medical students to interact with younger students who might be considering a career in medicine and also helps our fourth-year students earn credit for an academic medicine elective,” Raines said.

The HSTA students will learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle by using correct eating habits. They also will take part in numerous evening activities, such as bowling, Zumba, yoga, visits to the Marshall Recreation Center, dancing or going to a movie, and by participating in the Amazing Race, an activity based on the TV show of the same name.

The annual kickoff dinner for the “Fun With Science” summer institute is at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15, in Memorial Student Center Room BE 5 on the Huntington campus. Ann Chester, director of the HSTA program in West Virginia, will be among those delivering remarks.

Marshall is presenting the institute in collaboration with West Virginia University. HSTA was started in 1994 by WVU with 45 students from two counties. It now averages around 800 students enrolled in the program each year from 26 counties throughout the state.

For more information, contact Helen Bonham at 304-696-4672.

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