Local school boards and health care facilities teamed up with Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (SWLAHEC) to provide students who are interested in a career in a health profession a unique opportunity to experience various health careers in an up close and personal way.
Students who participated in the program shadowed different health care professionals daily over a two week period during the summer. They were instructed by a certified teacher in health career education and earned half an elective high school credit for their participation.
The goal of the “AHEC of a Summer” program was to provide opportunities for high school students to work in a health care environment and to expose high school students to career opportunities in health care, to provide high school students with positive health care role models, and to educate high school students about skills and requirements necessary for pursuing a health care profession.
Multi-department hospitals and health care facilities served as host sites for the program. The sites are paired with local nursing homes and mental health facilities to provide additional exposure to alternative health careers.
Many of the participating health care facilities are located in communities designated as primary care shortage areas in Louisiana and the student participants from those communities served a valuable role as volunteers and potential future health care professionals for the area.
During the program, student health volunteers received guidance about health care career options, volunteerism, patient care considerations, high school course prerequisites appropriate for health sciences or health administration training, and postsecondary education.
The "AHEC of a Summer" program has grown to include school systems and healthcare facilities throughout Louisiana and in other states. The program continues to be expanded and enhanced each year.
Ten Vermilion Parish high school juniors and seniors learned about health-care professions from May 28 to June 8, 2012, while participating in the “A-HEC of a Summer Program.”
Various health care professionals from Abbeville General Hospital served as mentors for students by showing
and telling the students about their jobs.
Medical professionals from the surrounding community who also hosted students were Dr. Stephen Trahan, Dr. David Trahan, Dr. Claud Fallis, Mr. Scott Hollier, Dr. Lance Lege, Mr. Duane Lege, Mr. Whitney Atchetee, Mr. Todd Rodrigue, Dr. Amy Rambaugh-Durr, Dr. Rowdy Abshire, Dr. Kim Bradley, and Dr. Samuel Thibodeaux. Mrs. Jenni Frick served as the lead instructor for the program; Mr. Blake Touchet assisted with the program.