Future health professionals learn to lead

High school and college students attend first MassAHEC HOSA leadership training

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

November 02, 2012
Pictured at MassAHEC HOSA Leadership Training are Worcester North High School chapter members, from left, Ruben Marin, Amy Ly, Allegra Montecalvo, Kimberly Akuffo and Nenoshka Soto. Students from the Brighton, Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical, Brockton, Fitchburg, Greater Lowell Technical, Lowell, Quabbin Regional and Wachusett Regional high schools, Bunker Hill and Holyoke community colleges, and the Pioneer Valley Area Health Education Center chapters also participated.

High school and community college students from 12 MassAHEC HOSA chapters across Massachusetts gathered to focus on developing leadership skills at the first MassAHEC HOSA Leadership Training Conference, held on Saturday, Oct. 13, at UMass Medical School.

MassAHEC HOSA is a program to improve access and quality of care by promoting health careers and leadership among middle and high school students. “Our trainings are wonderful opportunities to bring students together from different areas of the state to learn new skills, engage in continued exploration of our health care system, and to build relationships with peers from other communities,” said Sharon Grundel, state advisor for the MassAHEC HOSA network.

Funded with a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine–New England Network at the Lamar Soutter Library, the daylong program featured interactive workshops on topics not always covered in regular academic settings, including public speaking, team building, health information literacy, goal setting, meeting management and using social media to publicize chapter activities.

“I learned that communication is what connects everything and brings organization,” wrote one student.

“The training pushed me out of my comfort zone and in the end really helped me,” wrote another.

“The best thing I learned is to be confident in my future,” wrote a third.

For more than 30 years, the Massachusetts Area Health Education Centers (MassAHEC) Network has raised health career awareness by inspiring and training a diverse range of health professionals to practice in communities where the need is greatest. Having a similar mission, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is the largest organization operating in America’s high schools for students enrolled in health occupations and health sciences programs and those interested in pursuing a career in the health professions. In a partnership that brought HOSA to Massachusetts in 2009, MassAHEC HOSA was launched to promote academic-community partnerships that increase student access to health career education, field experiences and community service learning.

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