College of Health partners with Clark Middle School to help youth explore health professions

by Michelle Saport  |   


Dr. Anne Musser and students in the College of Health's Junior Health Professions Academy examine an X-ray. Photo by Carey Brown.

The College of Health Office of Student Advising and Advocacy is happy to announce an ongoing partnership with Clark Middle School's pre-medicine program. This community-based effort has provided Clark's students the opportunity to explore health careers and understand the academic requirements needed to pursue a career in healthcare.

The College of Health's Junior Health Professions Academy (JHPA) has been established in collaboration with this new partnership. The College of Health has recognized prospective student preparation as a key component in student transition to higher education, persistence, retention and student development. Our educational counterparts within the Anchorage School District have identified healthcare as a primary academic component in their high school curricula through their Career and Technical Education Department (CTE), establishing an obvious link to the healthcare degree programs offered at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The purpose of this academy will be to engage students as early as the sixth grade and prepare them for a career in healthcare. There are a few pre-health programs already established at Bartlett High, Service High and West High. This would be a worthwhile bridge from middle school to high school, and a successful transition to the College of Health. The ASD CTE facilitates their programs of study like college majors. They allow students to focus on a subject or industry in which they want to go into straight out of high school-getting a jump start on their career or being better prepared than their peers when starting college.

The JHPA is now an option for Clark Middle students under the newly developed Distinguished Leadership Academies initiative, which also includes academies from the College of Business and Public Policy and the College of Education. The Distinguished Leadership Academies kick-off was held on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 and welcomed nearly 200 students, parents and guests. UAA's own Chancellor Tom Case and Provost Sam Gingerich were in attendance, as well as the participating college deans.

The College of Health is also proud to be recognized as an official Anchorage School District School Business Partner. The partnership has proven to be a mutually beneficial one. The JHPA is currently accepting volunteers for the 2016-17 academic year. The 2015-16 academic year academy will conclude on April 2, 2016.

The JHPA is proud to recognize the volunteers who have facilitated the learning sessions and labs this fall and spring: Cynthia Armstrong, UAA Dental Assisting Program; Dr. LeeAnn Carrothers, director, UAA Physical Therapist Assistant Program; Gloria Burnett and Mariko Selle, AHEC; Dr. Susan Kaplan, senior assistant dean, UAA College of Health; Dr. Richard Luff, Luff Orthodontics; Dr. Anne Musser, D.O.; and Carey D. Brown, academic advising coordinator, College of Health Office of Student Advising and Advocacy.

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