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ASU camp helps high schoolers get hip to health

Gawon Shin Chan at the Summer Health Institute @ ASU.

Gawon Shin Chan, 17, holds an ultrasound wand on Ben Ehmann's chest, as they look at his aorta on monitors around the room at the Summer Health Institute @ ASU, a camp for Arizona high schoolers interested in the medical field. Shin Chan would like to become a surgeon, while Ehmann, 17, would like to become a neurosurgeon.
Photo by: Charlie Leight/ASU News

July 09, 2015

Ben Ehmann had the option of enjoying his last high school summer preparing for the upcoming baseball season or getting a jump on his medical career.

He chose the latter.

“My coaches said they understood and actually encouraged me,” said the 17-year-old, who will be a senior next month at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix. “Ultimately, it’s not about sports but my career after sports.”

The future neurosurgeon joined 23 other Arizona high schoolers headed into their senior year at the second annual Summer Health Institute @ ASU on the Downtown Phoenix campus, which is co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions and CareCentrix, a leader in managing care transitions to the home.

“The Summer Health Institute is a unique opportunity to capture the imaginations of young people on the verge of making decisions about college, career paths and more. This hands-on experience opens participants’ eyes to the possibilities available at Arizona State University, particularly the College of Health Solutions, in the arena of health and health care,” said Keith Lindor, executive vice provost and dean of the college.

Throughout the past week, students have been immersed in hands-on experiences coupled with a project titled “Discovering Disease” where an emphasis is placed on critical thinking, communication and presentation skills, scholarly research, and teamwork. During the camp, high schoolers interacted with professional health-care providers including physicians, physical and occupational therapists, dental hygienists and nurses.

Summer Health Institute Program 2015 from Arizona State University on Vimeo.

“It doesn’t feel like work or that I’m passing the time because I’m experiencing what it’s like to be in the medical field and with other students who are interested in the same field as me,” said 17-year-old Gawon Shin Chan, who attends Basha High School in Chandler and hopes one day to work as an emergency-room surgeon.

“Every day is different, and you really don’t know what to expect.”

Chandler Hamilton High student Elliot Smith sort of knows what to expect. The 16-year-old works as a volunteer in the emergency room at Chandler Regional Medical Center and hopes to become a surgeon. She has seen people brought in on stretchers who have suffered heart attacks, broken bones and other trauma. She said she enjoys helping people and offering comfort to patients and their families.

“Often I bring back family members to show them that their relatives or loved ones are OK,” she said. “Being in the Summer Institute solidifies what I want to do, and that’s to be in the medical profession.”

Kim Day, a registered nurse at Banner Health who also teaches Complex Care and Adult Health at ASU, said she likes instructing high schoolers.

"They’re very much like our freshman students here at ASU in they’re excited to learn,” she said. “This experience gives them an opportunity to learn about several different health careers, how to suture a patient, how to enter an operating room and know their role there.”

Nate Wade, senior director for Academic Services in the College of Health Solutions, said the camp helps build the confidence of participants to not only enter the health care workforce but to also apply to college, scholarships, and honors programs.

"We hope that this camp helps participants find their true passion within the health care sector while realizing that ASU offers a multitude of health care experiences due to being in the biomedical corridor of Phoenix and the state of Arizona," Wade said.

The Summer Health Institute@ASU ends on July 11.

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