In an attempt to promote student interest and engagement in health-related courses and programs, Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center (SWI-AHEC) housed at the University of Southern Indiana has recently donated more than $37,000 toward the purchase of science-related supplies and books for high school students in southwestern Indiana.
“Targeting resources to existing programs and courses that already engage with youth interested in health careers expands our ability to strengthen the healthcare workforce pipeline,” said Jane Friona, executive director of SWI-AHEC. “These youth participate in hands-on labs and projects that increase their knowledge about health and health careers, and this enhances their interest and ability to succeed in careers that will improve the health of regional communities.”
Friona said seven high schools received $5,000 each this fall to purchase supplies to complement the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences Program, which is a national program of biomedical science courses for high school students interested in physiology, genetics, microbiology, and public health. The schools receiving SWI-AHEC’s support for Project Lead the Way biomedical materials are: Jasper High School in Dubois County; Perry Central High School in Perry County; Pike Central High School in Pike County; North Posey High School in Posey County; Heritage Hills High School in Spencer County; and Central High School and Reitz High School, both in Vanderburgh County.
“The supplies from SWI-AHEC this year allowed us to implement the new curriculum for the Principles of Biomedical Science classes,” said Marilyn Rogers, science department chair at North Posey Senior High School. “The curriculum was vastly revised by Project Lead the Way this year, and we would have had to delay this implementation if these supplies were not available.”
In addition, SWI-AHEC awarded funds to two education centers for the purchase of health science education supplies: Twin Rivers Career & Technical Education Area, which serves Daviess, Knox and Martin counties, and the Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center, for students in Spencer, Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties.
“Like many school corporations in Indiana, our available dollars have been affected by recent funding changes. We were very excited when SWI-AHEC provided supplies for several in-class experiments – simulated diabetes testing, blood-typing, and a simulated dialysis activity,” said Theresa Weitkamp, instructor at Twin Rivers Career & Technical Education Area. “They provided additional materials for our Anatomy in Clay lab, enabling us to add facial anatomy to our existing curriculum and to enhance other topics such as immunology and the cardiovascular system. SWI-AHEC also provided much-needed equipment for our classroom patient care areas.”
SWI-AHEC stands for Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center. SWI-AHEC serves the 10 counties of Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick. SWI-AHEC is part of a national network with a mission to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities. Schools interested in working with SWI-AHEC to develop and strengthen the future healthcare workforce should contact Friona at 812/461-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.