‘2011 CI:Healthcare’ program success for Ascension Parish students

Staff reports
Ascension Students: (Left to Right) (Front Row) Sarah LaGrange, Priscilla Neal, Joy Semien, Kelsey Smith, Ashley Sturdivant, Alaina Varnadore, (Back Row) Abby Delatte, Daniella Gonzalez, Shelby Hebert, Loriann Jones, and Aleigha Jones. Not pictured is Todd Evans.

Shown left to right are Shelby Hebert, Ashley Sturdivant, and Kelsey Smith as they learn clinical lab procedures.
Shown left to right are Traci Beatty, Alaina Varnadore, and Todd Evans as they learn about laparoscopic surgery.

Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center (CLAHEC) and Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOLC) in Baton Rouge recently presented the “CI:Healthcare” program for high achieving high school juniors and seniors. This unique program was a one-day interactive experience that provided students the opportunity to explore nursing and allied health fields.  Students rotated through different departments to gain experience from a wide variety of medical career choices.

On Friday, Jan. 7, fifty-one students were able to investigate and participate in several health care fields such as Nursing, Clinical Lab Science, Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Therapist Assisting, Health Services Administration, Career Awareness, and Forensics/Biology.

Students were given the opportunity to observe firsthand various procedures used in each field. They were able to interact with OLOLC students and faculty and ask questions about specific career choices. They participated in many “hands-on” activities to get a feel for the various disciplines.

Students from Ascension Parish who attended this program included Joy Semien from Dutchtown High School; Todd Evans, Daniela Gonzalez, Loriann Jones, Aleigha Jones, Priscilla Neal and Alaina Varnadore from East Ascension High School; Shelby Hebert, Kelsey Smith and Ashley Sturdivant from St. Amant High School; and Abby Delatte and Sarah LaGrange from Ascension Catholic High School.

Joy Semien is quoted as saying “I loved this program because it enhanced my knowledge of different health careers. I loved learning about the materials behind the scenes such as bacteria and viruses.  I loved discovering what caused the problem to evolve. I also loved getting to touch and feel actual body fluids and test them. It was an experience of a lifetime and I greatly appreciate it.” 

Aleigha Jones said that “This program taught me about a lot of different careers in the medical field and gave a lot of hands on insight into all the careers. It really made me appreciate the people that work in the medical field.” Loriann Jones said “Today was a great experience, and I am really glad I got accepted into this program because I learned a lot. CLAHEC is an awesome program and I would advise anyone who has an interest in the medical field to do it.”

CLAHEC is a non-profit, community-based agency that serves as a training and information resource for health and education professionals for a 17-parish region. A primary goal of CLAHEC is to identify local needs and develop programs that will encourage young people to consider a career in healthcare and to practice in rural and underserved communities where their services are urgently needed.

Nan Ewing, program coordinator, states that “the CI:Healthcare program is an excellent tool for students to enhance their understanding of many different healthcare fields, obtain knowledge and experience from seasoned professionals, and to learn about programs offered through Our Lady of the Lake College.”

Joy Semien from Dutchtown HS enjoyed learning about gerontology during the Health Services Administration session.