May 14, 2014

Summer Students Explore Diversity of Health Professions

une 27, 2012 | “How many of you know someone who snores?” asked respiratory therapist Tonya Cook.

The arms of nearly all 105 students in the Summer Science Discovery Program and Youth Enrichment Summer (Y.E.S.) Camp shot into the air. Cook explained one of the many roles of a respiratory therapist is working in a sleep lab with patients whose snoring interferes with their breathing.

Ranging in age from 6 to15, the students were learning about some of the many health professions as part of the weeklong program packed with math and science-based activities and the presentations about various career options in health care and science. This year, the UAMS Center for Diversity Affairs, which sponsors the program, partnered with the St. Mark Baptist Church Y.E.S. camp to host the week of activities for campers.

“This week is not so much about teaching but more about exposing you to the idea of becoming a health care worker,” said Billy Thomas, M.D., M.P.H. UAMS vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, to the students. “And I say health care worker because there’s more to taking care of people than just what the doctor does.”

He noted the work of nurses, pharmacists and the many professions that make up the modern health care team. This includes professions such as respiratory therapists, who work in many types of settings, from the hospital and medical clinics to medical helicopters and sleep labs, said Cook, an instructor in the Department of Respiratory Care and Surgical Technology of the UAMS College of Health Related Professions.