UAMS Students Show Helena Teens Career Choices in Health Care

By Lee Hogan

The event, Raising Exposure & Awareness of Careers in Health (REACH) in the Delta, gave more than one hundred 11th and 12th grade students the opportunity to ask questions, visit with and learn from students from the UAMS colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health, and the UAMS Graduate School.

It was sponsored by the UAMS chapters of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), the UAMS Center for Diversity Affairs and the Arkansas Medical Dental and Pharmaceutical Association.

“As student organizations we want to serve the underrepresented and increase the number of minority students in health care professions,” said Kanesha Day, a third-year student in the College of Pharmacy and president of UAMS’ SNPhA chapter. “It’s important to reach out and give these students the tools they need to get to the next step.”


Kenneth Croon (far left), a student in the College of Health Professions, speaks to students during a panel discussion.

Students spent the morning learning about opportunities in an array of medical fields, whether a physician in a family practice, a nurse in a hospital setting, a scientist in a research lab or a pharmacist in a rural area.

The afternoon sessions gave way to hands-on tutorials with students learning how to measure and record blood pressure. Using fun games and interactive activities, Janet Ligon, a recruiting specialist with UAMS East, helped emphasize the unique roles of health care professionals in various settings. A college fair and panel session allowed high school students to ask UAMS students about the college application process, what to expect in classes and labs, and how to best prepare for an education and career in health care.

Kemmian Johnson, a second-year medical student in the College of Medicine and president of UAMS’ SNMA chapter, said, “It’s important that we visit the students and show them that we believe in their dreams and care about their success.”

“There are not a lot of doctors and other health professionals in this area,” said Johnson. “In the words of Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ With that idea in mind, it is vital that we show the students the process and how to achieve a career in health care.”