UTHSC team receives $1.3 million for education initiative to promote careers in allied health

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded $1.3 million to a new initiative by the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center (UTHSC) to educate rural Tennessee high school students about careers in health sciences. medical laboratory and public health information technology.

Dr. Jacen Moore

Jacen Moore, PhD, MLS (ASCP), assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Health Sciences at the College of Health Professions, is the principal investigator and program director. Rebecca Reynolds, EdD, RIIA, IAHIM, Professor and Program Director of Health Informatics and Information Management, and Keisha Brooks Burnett, EdD, MS, SCT (ASCP)Moassociate professor and director of the cytotechnology and histotechnology program, are part of Dr. Moore’s team.

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the stress of existing critical shortages of trained, skilled and allied health professionals, particularly in rural communities and underserved populations. Careers in fields such as medical laboratory science and public health information technology are in high demand, but professional programs struggle to recruit students. Dr. Moore’s project aims to address this recruitment challenge by familiarizing and engaging students early in high school, where these fields are not as popular or well promoted as other health professions.

Called “High School 2 Health Care” (HS2HC), the project aims to improve opportunities in these areas for underserved student populations. It includes a summer program and a dual-enrollment course that will educate high school students and their teachers about careers in medical laboratory science and public health information technology. Incorporating next-generation scientific standards, the courses will give students and teachers the opportunity to develop practical skills and experience what a career in these fields would entail.

“We have had an incredible opportunity through this SEPA award to introduce students and educators in West Tennessee to new, innovative pathways to developing careers in health professions,” said Dr. Moore. “By going to the underserved communities of Ripley and Selmer, in conjunction with the University of Tennessee at Martin, we will further highlight community needs to provide education for students, families, and communities.”

“Our college is thrilled that this award enables the dedicated efforts of Dr. Moore and his team to introduce students from rural and underserved areas of our state to career paths in the health professions,” said Stephen Alway, PhD. , FACSM, Dean of the College of Health Professions at UTHSC. “I expect many students impacted by this program to choose careers in health professions that can make a critical difference in the delivery of health care and the diagnosis of disease for the citizens of our state.”

Dr. Moore’s team is working in conjunction with a team led by Simpfronia Taylor, MBA/EdD, PhD, director of the Ripley extension center at the University of Tennessee at Martin, and a team led by Carolyn Kardon, MS, PhD, at University of Memphis Center for Educational Policy and Research. The project is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant.

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