AAUW Grant Provides Learning Opportunities for Rural Health Scholars


On Dec. 2, the Northeast Kentucky AHEC's Rural Health Scholars traveled to Pikeville to visit the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. This was the final activity in the AHEC's American Association of University Women-funded "Gaining Rural Opportunities for Women" project. 

During this tour, the scholars – high school juniors and seniors from throughout northeastern Kentucky – were able to learn the differences between allopathic and osteopathic physicians; see what a day in the life of a medical student is like; and were able to see the lecture halls, research labs, and the medical school's simulation labs. 

Throughout the GROW project, students were given many opportunities to meet with health care professionals and learn more about their careers, motivations to get to where they are now, and what the steps were in order to become a health care professional. GROW's overall goal was to provide enhanced educational experiences for northeastern Kentucky female students, thus further encouraging their interest in a health profession degree and career. 

The project's first activity was a one-week summer camp, held July 21-25 at the Center for Health Education and Research in Morehead. Students were able to do hands-on activities such as scrubbing up for a surgery, putting together a prescription for a patient from beginning to end, studying fake urine samples for certain issues, blood typing, and completing a birthing simulation with a nurse midwife. Students also were able to go inside an ambulance and speak with the personnel about their daily activities and how to become an EMT. 

Observing these different careers, learning how to get there step by step, and seeing what medical professionals do on a daily basis gave students a better idea of whether they were interested in a health care career. Students also visited a variety and health care and health professions education organizations, including St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Pikeville. 
Along with being introduced to the different careers, students were given access to Kaplan ACT prep. By having the ACT prep, students were given an initial test, then their assignments were tailored to what they needed to work on, and they then were given four additional tests aimed at improving their scores.

Lastly, on Nov. 7, Northeast AHEC Director David A. Gross and Health Careers Education Coordinator Lainey Mattox were given the opportunity to present the GROW project to the AAUW's Cave Run Branch. 

"Several members of the local branch were in attendance to hear about what we were doing for the students and to understand how the money the AHEC received from the grant was being used," Mattox said. "The Northeast Kentucky AHEC is greatly appreciative of the AAUW Community Action Grant for the chance to receive this funding in order to get our project up and running."

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