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Local students attend Health Career Camp at Southern Utah University

The 13th annual Utah Center for Rural Health's Health Career Exploration Camp was recently held at Southern Utah University, and was attended by multiple Carbon High School students. Students who participated in the health career camp did so because they are interested in someday pursuing a career in the health care field. Attending from Carbon High School were Kylie Kulow, Hailey Mills, Taylor Warring, Felicia Wayman and Taran White. They, along with 90 other high school students, explored the health care industry through three-days of hands-on experiences and learning opportunities for all who attended.

At the camp, participants were divided into six groups and rotated among 14 different workshops. Some of the workshops featured health career skills where participants learned to suture, take blood pressures, intubate and maintain an airway, provide first-aid, proper patient transfer techniques, how to properly scrub in for surgery, proper wound care techniques and more. In science labs students looked at blood smears through microscopes, conducted chemistry experiments, learned how diseases are spread, made their own teeth impressions, dissected sheep eyes and cow hearts, and learned about pharmacy by making their own chapstick. Participants also had a human anatomy lesson, when they scrubbed into a mock operating room and had the opportunity to look at, discuss, and feel actual human organs. Careers that were featured at the camp included, Respiratory Therapy, Nursing, Nurse Practitioner, Medical Technologist, Physician, Veterinarian, Dental Hygienist, Occupational Therapist, EMT, Pharmacist, and Dentist.

Dax and Ashley Crum were keynote speakers at the camp. Dax is a former Division I basketball player who was born with only one hand. He shared his philosophy of setting a goal and achieving it, while not letting anyone or anything get in your way. Ashley is a current University of Utah medical student and she shared her thoughts about getting into medical school and the time, effort and dedication that medical school takes. Participants at the camp also took part in the SUU Challenge Course where they learned team-work and leadership skills. A dance and dinner at a local park were also highlights of the camp.

Because there is a strong need for health care workers in rural Utah, the goal for this camp is simple.

"This camp is specifically designed to give students from rural areas opportunities to learn about health care careers in a hands-on way that is not always available to them. Our hope is that by introducing students to health care from rural areas, they will ultimately choose to pursue a health care career and return to a rural area to work after their education is finished," stated Carrie Torgersen, coordinator of the camp.

After graduating from high school, students interested in health careers have the opportunity enroll in the Center's Rural Health Scholars Program. The Rural Health Scholars Program helps students become successful applicants to medical, dental, pharmacy and other graduate level health professions programs.  Student applications are strengthened through a regimen of classes, seminars, community service, job shadowing, research and advisement. 

In 2010, 52 SUU students were accepted into graduate level health programs, and out of 25 students applying to medical schools, 24 were accepted. 

For information about Utah Center for Rural Health programs, contact Dennis Moser or Rita Osborn at 435-865-8520 or visit

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