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Program offers ASU students hands-on health care internships

medical students in class
November 14, 2014

The complexity of health care delivery is growing, along with the rapid expansion of a health care industry designed to deliver comprehensive care to an aging population. To help Arizona and its future clinical practitioners meet these rising demands, Arizona State University has established a new university-wide pre-health internship program.

Designed to develop high-quality activities that give ASU students the practical experience needed to be competitive in post-graduate degree programs and careers, the pre-health program will be housed in the Office of Clinical Partnerships and managed by Renae Larcus.

Larcus comes to ASU from Scottsdale Healthcare, where she served as manager of community health services. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon and completed her doctorate with the University of Utah. Her experience in health care includes positions with ASU, the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

New degrees recently established in the College of Health Solutions complement the existing programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering designed to prepare undergraduates for professional degrees in medicine and health-related professions.

To further boost these students’ successes as they apply to medical school or pursue health-related professions, Larcus will nurture existing partnerships and develop new ones with clinical partners, in addition to working with university constituents and academic programs to target meaningful internships.

“With more than 50 hospitals serving the more than 4 million citizens in our Phoenix metro area, Arizona State students can experience hands-on, real-world internships, job shadowing and eventual careers in the widest range of medical and health areas imaginable,” said Paul LePore, an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“ASU’s Office of Clinical Partnerships' new health internship program will help make that happen by supporting and expanding the clinical experiences available to our students and providing the much needed connection between our degree programs and the Valley’s clinical partners,” LePore added.

Joining Larcus with the new internship program is Christina Islas. Islas will work with the academic programs and with site internship coordinators as a pre-health internship placement specialist.

Islas is an ASU alumna with more than 15 years of experience as a health care provider and health care education professional. Her experience includes urgent care, pediatrics, internal medicine and orthopedics/sports medicine. Prior to joining the internship office, Islas served as the allied health program chair at Anthem College in Phoenix.

“We are excited to partner on this university-wide initiative that will expand opportunities for students in health and health care. The College of Health Solutions and the Office of Clinical Partnerships have a long history of working collaboratively to help students achieve success in the health-related disciplines; the pre-health internship program is a natural next step in serving students across the university who are interested in healthcare,” said Alison Essary, the director of Student Affairs in the College of Health Solutions and clinical associate professor in the School for the Science of Health Care Delivery.