Health Career Academy: Addition of a Surgical Case-Based Learning Curriculum Captures the Interest of High School Students.
OBJECTIVE: The Health Career Academy (HCA) is a national program which provides a structure to introduce underserved high school students to healthcare careers. Utilizing the HCA framework, we adapted the curriculum to emphasize surgical cases and invited physicians to enrich the learning experience. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Medical students adapted a surgical case-based learning (CBL) curriculum at a local high school serving students from a primarily ethnic minority and low-income community (61% Black, 20% Hispanic; 58% free or reduced lunch). Each grade level received a minimum of ten, 90-minute CBL sessions. Expert faculty lecturers supplemented lessons. Medical student volunteers and 10th and 11th grade students completed postsemester surveys. RESULTS: Over four semesters, HCA held 44 sessions, with 81 students graduating from the program. A total of 66% of sessions featured at least one faculty volunteer. A total of 36 students in 10th and 11th grade and 15 medical student volunteers completed postparticipation surveys. A total of 46.2% of 11th grade students previously participated in the 10th grade curriculum. On a scale of 1 to 4, students rated HCA highly in its overview of career options (mean 3.61, [SD 0.5]) and instilling understanding of patient care (3.78 [0.42]). Students enjoyed learning about career paths (3.61 [0.50]) and health topics (3.83 [0.39]). Of 10th and 11th grade students, 100% considered a healthcare career, with 34.8% of 10th and 61.5% of 11th grade students expressing interest in pursuing a surgical specialty. After volunteering, medical students felt like better educators (4.47 [0.64]) and were more likely to pursue teaching roles (4.2 [0.86]). CONCLUSIONS: The Duke HCA chapter implemented the HCA program featuring CBL sessions emphasizing surgical cases. This program engaged minority students and potentially contributed to student interest in surgical careers. It helped to prepare medical students for future teaching roles. An interactive, surgery-focused program may increase the number of minority youth interested in pursuing health careers.
Freischlag, K; Ji, K; Kamyszek, RW; Leraas, HJ; Olivere, LA; Gefter, L; Mann, B; Migaly, J; Tracy, ET
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