High School Students from Southern Arizona Get In-Depth Look at Healthcare Careers

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April 26, 2023 | Glendale, AZ

Thanks to a generous grant funded by APS, 13 high school students from the Mexican American Student Services Department in the Tucson Unified School District visited the Midwestern University Glendale Campus on March 6. The students spent the day touring the campus and getting an in-depth look at various healthcare careers.

The first portion of the day was led by faculty and students from the AZCOM DEI Outreach Task Force, including Layla Al-Nakkash, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Physiology, College of Graduate Studies and Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine; T. Bucky Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy, College of Graduate Studies and Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine; and 20 AZCOM students.

First, the visiting high school students gathered in Agave Hall’s OMM lab and rotated through several stations to learn about osteopathic manipulative medicine, practice taking vital signs, and learn how an ultrasound machine works. They learned about identifying bony landmarks, the principles of osteopathic medicine, and how to use various clinical tools such as reflex hammers, stethoscopes, and otoscopes. The vitals and OMM stations were organized by Jaron Wilson (AZCOM ’25) a member of the AZCOM DEI Outreach Task Force. After completing all the stations, the students moved down the hall to the anatomy lab. There, Dr. Jones and AZCOM students used various specimens and models to teach students about the human heart and brain.

Next, the students headed to Glendale Hall where Christina Esposito, O.D., Associate Professor and Clinical Care Coordinator, Pediatrics & Vision Therapy, Arizona College of Optometry and Medical Director, Midwestern University Eye Institute, discussed the career of optometry and the diversity of cases they see in patient care. Students got hands-on experience in the optometry lab and practiced examining their fellow students’ eyes.

The group rounded out the day by visiting the Nurse Anesthesia Lab, led by Deanna Villalino, D.N.P., CRNA, Assistant Program Director, Nurse Anesthesia, and assisted by David Good, CRNA, M.S.N., Assistant Professor, Nurse Anesthesia, and several nurse anesthesia students. There, the high schoolers learned about what it takes to become a nurse anesthetist and what the career entails. They then used the advanced technology in the lab to simulate intubation, manage a patient’s pain and anesthesia in surgery, and give spinal injections.

In addition to connecting with our caring faculty and staff, the visiting students also received answers to their questions about research and volunteering opportunities, how to choose a career in healthcare, and admissions tips, and walked away from MWU with a clearer idea of the many opportunities available to them in healthcare.