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Teens tackle controversial topics at Mercyhurst health careers camp
Should super-sized sugary drinks be banned? Why don’t anti-smoking campaigns work for teens? How
safe are drugs found in the family medicine cabinet?
These are among the controversial health topics that 25 area high school students attending the weeklong
Health Career Explorers Camp at Mercyhurst University – The North East Campus will explore in their
capstone project. The teens will premiere a series of “public health newscasts” on these topics Friday,
July 26, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Great Room of the Ridge Library at Mercyhurst North East. The event is
open to the public.
Organized by Mercyhurst and co-sponsored by Hamot Health Foundation, the summer camp has provided
nearly 400 culturally diverse teens hands-on experience in nursing, physical therapy, occupational
therapy, medical lab technology, respiratory therapy and emergency medical response training during the
past six years. The campers work on human patient simulators, visit hospitals, and conduct medical
histories of residents at Parkside Retirement Community in North East. The students often leave with an
aspiring interest in a health occupation.
Research shows that reaching students in middle school and early high school creates a commanding
learning experience that can be a life-changer.
“Young people, and especially minority children, aren’t aware of all the terrific career opportunities in
health care,” said Linda Rhodes, director of the Hirtzel Institute on Health Education and Aging at
Mercyhurst North East, who conceived the idea of the camp. “Our camps give them the opportunity to
actually experience what it’s like to be a nurse, a paramedic or a respiratory therapist. And that’s
Through the support of the Hamot Health Foundation, students receive their own set of scrubs and
stethoscope while they are exposed to an intense week of clinical activities, field trips and sessions with
professionals among six health occupations.
“What a wonderful and exciting opportunity for these students. Hamot Health Foundation is pleased that
we can partner with Mercyhurst University in making this possible,” said Ann Bula, president and chief
development officer of Hamot Health Foundation.
Campers also learn how to practice healthy lifestyles and each camp graduate receives a $2,000
scholarship toward any program at Mercyhurst University once they graduate from high school.
Throughout the academic year students may also attend “Health Career Retreats” at the university geared
toward activities to help them with their studies in high school and nurture their interest in a health care
career. And they can join a Mercyhurst-sponsored Health Career Occupations Students of America
(HOSA) club that in its short history has won state awards and sent students onto national HOSA finals.
For more information, contact Rhodes at 814-725-6310 or 717-919-4991.

the Health Care Career Camp Update Press Release