207159 Area Geriatric Education Scholars: A Collaborative Community-Based Philanthropic Effort to Encourage Youth Entry Into Geriatric Healthcare Professions

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Carolyn Weissbach, JD, MPH , Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation, Marquette, MI
The Area Geriatric Education Scholars program is a collaborative, community-based and largely locally-funded partnership to promote youth entry into the healthcare professions -- medicine, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and behavior health -- through pre-career paid internships, educational trainings and outreach. The Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation has sponsored 85 high school juniors and seniors in 7-week paid summer internships at 14 long-term care sites across Michigan's remote, rural Upper Peninsula since 2006 through an effort largely funded through grant writing, targeted presentations and community support. Need is prompted by regional shortages of healthcare professionals, an aging UP population (25% are age 65+) and interest in "home growing" future professionals from the local youth population. AGES provides a 3-day orientation on career paths, higher education, geriatric health, professionalism, long-term care, philanthropy in the community and technology. Interns a) lead activities (e.g. Bingo, Sing-Along), b) provide one-on-one companionship for senior LTC residents and c) "job shadow" healthcare professionals. Sustained partnerships between UPHEC, LTCs, high schools, MichiganWorks!, HOSA chapters, UP universities, schools of healthcare professions (e.g. Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Northern Michigan U. School of Nursing), hospitals, funders (community foundations, private foundations, corporate entities and government) and media contributed to AGES' growth. Evaluation results from satisfaction surveys, attitudinal evaluations and post-program entry into higher education and careers demonstrate success. AGES intern-alums are employed by LTCs, help recruit future interns and often remain as volunteers. Dissemination has prompted replication inquiries for other communities and in other contexts (e.g. public health).

Learning Objectives:
1 - Develop a community plan for a program focusing on a youth healthcare careers workforce orientation and entrance program with paid internships involving healthcare providers, university educators, community and private foundations, state workforce planners and area high schools with affiliated HOSA and career tech programs. 2 - List factors and approaches effective in appealing to prospective philanthropic funders in one's service area - - foundations, corporate entities, individuals -- towards cultivating and stewarding such relationships while developing and sustaining youth pre-healthcare career programs. 3 - Identify and articulate qualitative and quantiative assessment tools as well as assessable outcomes to utilize in the effective evaluation of participant (youth, senior, healthcare provider, educator) attitudes, participation levels, knowledge and post-program educational and career progression in a youth pre-health career program.

Keywords: Youth at Work, Community Health Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Initiated and administrated Area Geriatric Education Scholars program in 2006; J.D. and M.P.H. degree; previous presentation experience; professional experience in fund development, community service, public health and education; J.D. and M.P.H. degrees
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.