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Summer Camp, Anyone? SIUE Healthcare Collaboration at its Finest
by Yasmyn Knight, P3 Student, SSHP ASHP Liaison and Sarah Lance, P2 Student, SSHP President Elect, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy promotes its annual Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from a plethora of diverse backgrounds within the St. Louis Metropolitan Region. The summer camp is one week long and is free of charge for each student participant. It also includes a complimentary Kaplan ACT Preparatory Course and CPR training certification. Throughout the week, the high school students are introduced to SIUE’s School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, and School of Pharmacy programs. The Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp is implemented by SIUE SNPhA to expose the students to a variety of healthcare careers that are offered at SIUE.
SIUE School of Pharmacy student leaders are encouraged each year to participate in the summer camp and serve as camp counselors, chaperones, and mentors for the high school students. Each summer there are several SIUE SSHP members in attendance who provide the students with knowledge about the expanding roles of pharmacists and the increasing opportunities for student pharmacists to impact the community. Two 2015-16 SIUE SSHP officers provided their personal reflection about how the Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp impacted them as pharmacy student leaders making an impact on their community.
“As one of the first participants of the SIUE Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp, in the summer of 2011, I can testify that my experience as a high school student solidified my decision to pursue pharmacy as the career for me in healthcare. Pursuing a profession within the healthcare field after graduating high school was always a goal of mine, but I found myself a bit discouraged by the low representation of African American physicians practicing within our society. After the first day of camp, my eyes were instantly opened to the endless possibilities that SIUE and the field of pharmacy had to offer. The SIUE School of Pharmacy faculty and student pharmacists encouraged the camp participants to get enrolled into pre-healthcare college courses and provided us with the necessary tools to succeed in college. It was very encouraging witnessing the faculty and student pharmacists take time out of their busy schedules to mentor high school students. One great piece of advice that the student pharmacists shared was to get involved in pharmacy student organizations. I definitely do not regret taking their advice and currently I hold two important student organizations positions, the 2015-2016 SSHP ASHP Liaison and the 2015-2016 SNPhA President. After the camp, I knew that I wanted to be a pharmacist and I was sure that I could count on the student pharmacists that I met to become many of my lifetime mentors.” - Yasmyn Knight
“Never having been a camp counselor before, this experience was a very exciting one. The students were very welcoming and we were able to bond so quickly. I believe the immediacy of the bonding occurred because a few years ago, I was in their shoes. Being on the counselor side was more than rewarding. For a few hours each night some of the other chaperones and myself would visit the students and just talk about school and previously unanswered questions they did not want to ask the faculty members. It was like an informative sleepover party, and they appreciated the unfiltered perspective of a pharmacy student. I was able to talk to all of the students, regardless of their preferred career path, about the collaboration and roles of pharmacists in the healthcare community. Being able to share the ever-expanding roles of pharmacists, outside of retail stores on every block, is important to me. While I grow into my future SSHP presidency, I realize my vision is to expand the public's perspective of pharmacists in all settings. Volunteering for the summer camp is my first step towards achieving that vision. I’m so proud of my school for having this camp program, encouraging a relationship between students of minorities and our community of healthcare students and faculty.” - Sarah Lance
The SIUE Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp participants at the closing ceremony. Participants, their families, and the volunteers were invited to a lunch banquet to celebrate the students’ experiences over the week.